In today’s passage, Mark 3:1-6, we learn about Jesus’ interaction with a group of religious leaders, the Pharisees, when He healed a man with a withered hand. In the midst of this miracle, Jesus reveals some important truths about the nature of genuine, authentic faith.
Genuine faith is a faith that seeks the PERSON of Jesus
It is sobering to remember that there is a kind of faith that is not a saving faith (James 2:19). Even the Pharisees, who were considered the stewards and watchers of the Word were not immune. While the Pharisees diligently studied the written Word, they failed to recognize the Living Word, Jesus, who stood before them. They certainly knew about Him, but, sadly, they didn’t actually know Him.
There are a number of ways to approach the Bible. Some do so seeking…
- Information: While seeking knowledge and understanding is certainly to be commended, knowledge by itself, is incomplete. In fact, 1 Corinthians 8:1 reminds us that knowledge puffs up in pride, but a heart of love builds up. Simply trying to increase in knowledge, for knowledge-sake, doesn’t lead to heart change.
- Inspiration: Without a doubt, the Scriptures offer words of comfort and hope. While merely seeking feel-good statements or “Instagramable” soundbites might make us feel better about ourselves or give us that warm feeling inside, it might not be driving us to the person of Jesus.
- Transformation: This approach comes to the Word asking the Holy Spirit illuminate His Word and change our hearts so that we become more like the very one we are seeking: Jesus.
The reality is it is impossible to know the person of Jesus apart from obedience to His Word, the Bible. Let’s not fall into the trap of the Pharisees who pursued the rules but failed to seek God through a relationship with Jesus.
Pastor Jason reminded us, “Hell is full of people who believe they deserve heaven, while heaven is full of people who know they deserve hell.”
Discuss as a Family: Which of the ways listed above best describes how you approach God and His Word, the Bible? When you open the Bible, does it lead you to a deeper sense of wonder and desire to know Jesus more?
Genuine faith is a faith that knows the HEART of Jesus
As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, we begin to take on the heart of Jesus. In this passage we might find it surprising to see that Jesus demonstrated both anger and grief. Unlike our typical sinful outbursts, Jesus’ anger was a righteous anger combined with a heart of compassion as He grieved the effect of the curse on creation.
Discuss as a Family: Do you grieve the things that grieve the heart of God? If so, how do you respond? Remember, anger without grief is like moral restraint without the hope of the gospel. Let’s be those who point people to Jesus through the gospel.
The gospel – the good news of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that through faith in Him we can be forgiven and reconciled to God
Genuine faith is a faith that follows the VOICE of Jesus
Jesus commanded the man with a withered hand to do something that was actually impossible. What a great reminder that God gives us grace to follow Him and do what may seem impossible in our eyes.
In our passage today while Jesus asked the man to extend his withered hand, we are reminded that it was really God who first reached out to us by extending the hand of His Son, Jesus, on the cross! Today, He calls us to live our lives in response to what He has done for us…
Discuss as a Family: Is there anything God is speaking to you through the Bible or in prayer? Perhaps He is asking you to do something. Perhaps He is asking you to stop something. Whatever the case, let’s be those who open-handedly follow the voice of Jesus.
If you haven’t done so already, take time as a family to memorize the definition of the gospel.
Gospel: the good news of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that through faith in Him we can be forgiven and reconciled to God