The heart behind these posts is to explore the bible together, and to try and apply what it says to our lives, to genuinely let the Word of God affect us on a Monday as well as a Sunday.
For the next sixteen weeks we will be looking each week at a chapter of Mark. I would encourage you to read through the whole chapter at least once as well as the specific chunks we’ll be focusing on.
Mark is the shortest of the four gospels that show the life of Jesus. It is the action film, it is fast and punchy.
In this passage Jesus heals a guy with a deformed hand on the sabbath (which was a holy day in Jewish tradition). In Exodus 20 which is where the Ten Commandments are written, it says in verse 8 that we are commanded to keep the 7th day holy.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work.” (Exodus 20:8-10)
The power of rest
At the time this was a massive relief to the Israelites, this was the best law they’d ever heard. They’d just come out of slavery in Egypt where they were made to work non-stop till they died, where their whole day would have been taken up by work and the idea of rest would have been foreign.
And now, God is commanding them to have a WHOLE DAY OF REST. A day where you are not allowed to work! At the time this would not have been restrictive but life-giving.
Verse 11 of Exodus 20 says this:
“For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:11)
This isn’t saying that God needed to rest because He was tired, God doesn’t get exhausted, instead God rested on the seventh day because God made rest part of creation. He wants us to rest. The idea of rest is mentioned a lot in the Bible with one of the most famous verses being Matthew 11 v 28.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28)
This rest doesn’t mean lying around in a onesie all day watching Netflix, this means rest from our worries and stresses. That we can hand all our stress over to Jesus and rest in Him. All our worries about future plans, or relationships, or finances, or family, we can offer them to Jesus and He will take the burden, and we don’t need to feel guilty about doing this as Jesus actually wants to do this.
He longs to help and to carry us because He loves us. And He loves us, because He loves us, because He loves us.
What makes Jesus angry?
Back to our story. Jesus gets angry. Jesus heals this guys hand, completely transforms his life, yet the Pharisees are angry because they believe Jesus has sinned by doing this. This upsets Jesus massively because it shows that they don’t care about the heart of the law, the heart of God, they only care about rules.
It’s a lot easier to follow rules than to care about people.
Religious people are all about law and following a set of guidelines, but Jesus is all about freedom and love. In Mark 2 verse 27 Jesus says “Sabbath was made for man, not man for sabbath.” Jesus is really trying to point to the heart of God which is that God didn’t make the Ten Commandments to reduce fun and ruin life, but instead so that we can fully have life.
God created life so if anyone knows more about living the best life, it’s Him. We need to realise that the rules aren’t there to catch us out or make us feel guilty when we trip up on one, but actually to gives an idea of how we can live the best life.
This post was written by Jacob Arnold (), an intern at Gold Hill and one of the leaders in our youth ministry. If you want to read the previous Deeper post, it’s here.
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