There is a tragic legend of rival shopkeepers who lived and owned stores across the street from each other. Somehow their jealousy and hatred grew until each was almost consumed with desire to hurt the other. One night one of the men dreamed that an angel offered to give him anything he wanted with only one condition - the other shopkeeper would receive double of whatever this man received. In his dream, the man was offered money, a long life, and other wonderful things. But he could only think about his rival receiving twice as much of those things. After some thought, the man asked to be blinded in one eye. In Mark 3:1-6 we read about the Pharisees' with their hard, unbelieving hearts who hated Jesus so much they couldn't think straight and were willing to work with their enemies to destroy Him. Study the passage to learn about the dangers of a hard heart and how to keep yours healthy.
Ask the Lord - the One who wrote this passage - to help you understand it and to apply it to your life today.
Read Focus Verses
Read Mark 3:1-6 and notice how the people in the passage respond to Jesus.
If we read the previous verses, Mark 2:23-28, we'll be able to identify the people indicated in the first verse of today's passage and have a better feel for what they are doing.
Where is Jesus in today's passage?
What day is it?
Who else is in the synagogue that is singled out?
What is different or special about him? Why does he feature in today's passage?
Who is watching Jesus in verse 2 based on the context from the last chapter?
Why are the Pharisees watching Jesus according to the end of verse 2?
What does Jesus say in verse 3?
Who does Jesus address in verse 4?
What does Jesus say to the Pharisees in verse 4?
What is their response?
What were Jesus' two emotions as He looked at the silent Pharisees?
What is the reason for His anger and grief according to verse 5?
What does Jesus say in verse 5?
The Man Responds
How does the man respond to Jesus' command?
What is the result of the man's obedience?
What is the Pharisees' immediate response to Jesus' miracle?
With whom do the Pharisees hold a meeting?
What is the Pharisees' purpose for this meeting?
Keywords - Hard Heart
At the climax of this passage God reveals the source of the trouble - the Pharisees' hard, stubborn hearts. Mark this phrase so it stands out as key to this passage.
Mark the phrase describing the Pharisees' hard, stubborn hearts in Mark 3:5.
Keywords - Jesus Christ
Jesus is the main character in these verses. Marking His Name will emphasize this.
As we've done through the first two chapters of this book, mark the words referring to Jesus in Mark 3:1-6.
Luke 6:6-11 records the same story as today's passage.
Passage of Time
When you read the passage immediately before today's for context, you probably noticed that it was also talking about something that happened on a Sabbath. What does Luke's account add at the beginning of his account of today's story that gives us an interesting piece of information regarding the passage of time?
Mark previously recorded Jesus doing a miracle in the synagogue in Mark 1:21-28.
We've already learned some things about the Pharisees in the previous study on Mark 2:13-17, "Jesus: Savior for Sinners." This short article summarizes some of the key moments in the Gospels which explain the Pharisees to us.Click To Visit Website
In Luke 11:53-54 we see the Pharisees not just watching Jesus so they could accuse Him like in today's passage, but actually trying to provoke Him to say something they could use against Him.
What do these verses tell us about the Pharisees' attitude toward Jesus?
What Kind of Person
Psalm 37:32 tells us what kind of person does this.
What kind of person were these Pharisees according to their actions when we look at them in light of Psalm 37:32?
By the time we get to Mark 15:10 when the Pharisees (as part of the council) and others had brought Jesus to Pilate to demand His execution, Pilate sees through their motive.
What was Pilate's assessment of their attitude toward Jesus?
In Matthew 23 Jesus exposes the hidden wickedness of the Scribes and Pharisees. Read Matthew 23:1-15 to get a feel for who they truly were behind the good show, pious prayers, and long robes.
In just the first three chapters of Mark we've seen the tension between the Pharisees and Jesus bubble to the surface over and over. Based on what you've seen about the Pharisees, what was the cause or basis of the tension?
Jesus' Character Revealed
Can you imagine having people who were plotting against you and looking to trip you up following you around everywhere? How does Jesus' response to the Pharisees reveal His character?
If you haven't already done the study plan for the previous passage, Mark 2:23-28, called, "Questions about the Law," at least looking at the section about the Sabbath will help you understand the discussion in today's passage. In that study we saw in Scripture that Jesus Christ perfectly obeyed the Sabbath laws despite the claims of the Pharisees. For a quick refresher on the Old Testament Law about the Sabbath read Exodus 20:8-11.
What did God command His people before Christ's death and resurrection to do (or not do) on the Sabbath?
Matthew 12:9-14 records a few more details about today's encounter at the Synagogue.
Has someone ever made things happen in a certain way to try to make you look bad? How does the extra information in Matthew's account help us see that going on in today's story?
Matthew recorded more of what Jesus said than Mark did. How did Jesus try to reason with them to show them the inconsistency of their position?
We see Jesus using the same illustration on another occasion in Luke 13:10-17.
In the very next chapter, Luke 14:1-6, He uses it again with the same effect.
In Your Words
In your own words, restate the argument Jesus is developing in His use of the illustration of the sheep.
Why were the Pharisees unable to answer Jesus when He used this simple illustration?
Animals and People
What does Jesus indirectly teach us about the relative value of people and animals in His application of this illustration?
A Hard Heart
Verse 5 of today's passage in Mark 3 reveals that a hard heart was at the root of the Pharisees' resistance to Jesus and their silence in the face of His question. Notice what 2 Chronicles 36:13 says is the opposite of a hard heart.
According to 2 Chronicles 36:13, what is the opposite of hardening your heart and, in contrast, what is another way to describe hardening your heart?
Romans 2:2-6 exposes the result of a hardened heart.
Wrath and Destruction
What is the result of hardening your heart and turning away from God?
Pharaoh's Hard Heart
In the book of Exodus we read the wonderful story of God bringing Israel out of Egypt. Even though God displayed His power with terrible plagues, Pharaoh continued to harden his heart and refused to let Israel go as we see in Exodus 9:34-35.
Don't Do It
1 Samuel 6:6 is a fascinating verse. In it, the unbelieving Philistines who were the enemies of Israel were facing the judgment of God for having taken the Ark of the Covenant from Israel in a recent battle. Read their warning to themselves.
Not Only Him
In Psalm 95:6-11 we see that Pharaoh was not the only one with a hard heart.
Hebrews 3:15-19 tells us more about the hardened heart of many of the Israelites and the consequences of it.
What do these verses teach us about a hard heart?
This post explains how Jesus could be angry and still be righteous.Click To Visit Website
In Luke 19:41-44 we see another time Jesus was grieved over the hard, disobedient hearts of those He wanted to save like in today's passage.
Hebrews 3:7-11 reveals that grief was God's response to Israel's hard heart also.
Ezekiel 18:30-32 gives us a glimpse into God's heart and why it grieves Him when people stubbornly resist Him and His salvation.
Why was Jesus grieved over their hard hearts?
Did Jesus allow their stubbornness to stop Him from doing what was right?
In Mark 3:7-10, the verses directly after today's passage, we see Jesus' response to the threats of the Pharisees.
Withdrew and Carried On
How did Jesus respond to the threats of His enemies?
In contrast to the Pharisees, how did the man with the deformed hand respond to Jesus?
James 2:14-20 shows us that real, living faith will show itself through actions.
The Pharisees showed their unbelief through their actions and words, how do we see this man's faith through his actions?
Today's passage mentions another group of leaders in Israel at the time of Jesus. This short article about them will help you understand why verse 6 in today's account is so remarkable.Click To Visit Website
The Pharisees wanted little-to-nothing to do with the Romans. The Herodians wanted the Jews to be as Roman as possible. As you can imagine, this caused a lot of conflict. What does Mark 3:6 say about the two groups?
What does this tell us about how much the Pharisees hated Jesus that they were willing to join their archenemies in the effort to destroy Him?
The Pharisees' words and actions in today's passage make no sense - they refused to see the justice of healing on the Sabbath and joined with their enemies to plot Jesus' destruction. What does this teach us about the dangers of a hardened heart?
In Mark 6:45-52 we see that even the disciples had hard hearts at times. Just before these verses Jesus had fed 5,000 men plus women and children a full meal from just 5 small loaves of bread and two little fish. Afterward there were 12 baskets full of pieces left.
Jesus reveals more indications of a hard heart in Mark 8:17-18.
We see Jesus rebuking the disciples for a hard heart again after His resurrection in Mark 16:9-14.
Hebrews 3:12-13 warns God's people against allowing their hearts to grow hard.
What else can you call a hard heart according to Hebrews 3:12?
What does Hebrews 3:13 say will harden our hearts?
How do these verses say God's people should keep themselves from growing hard in unbelief through sin?
Don't Grieve Him
We saw that a hard heart grieves God. Consider what Ephesians 4:30 says.
A Good Reason
What is one of the best reasons for a Christian to be careful to have a soft heart toward God?
What are some of the other reasons you've seen today that it is important to guard against a hard heart?
Faith and Obedience
In a few words how would you describe a soft heart (the opposite of a hard heart)?
Proverbs 4:23 tells us how important it is to watch our hearts and how carefully we're going to have to work at it.
How important is it to guard your heart against unbelief and stubbornness?
How careful are you going to have to be?
Read Mark 3:1-6 once more in light of everything you've seen in God's Word.
In your own words, summarize today's passage and how it should change our lives.
Pharisees or Disciples
Both the Pharisees and Disciples had hard hearts at times, but one group persisted and faced God's judgment and the other repented and found His mercy. If you haven't obeyed God in faith by repenting of your sin and trusting in Christ to save you, will you do that today?
How's Your Heart?
If you're a Christian, is your heart hardened against God - even in a seemingly small thing? Will you heed the warnings in God's Word and repent? How will you apply what you've learned today about the solution to a hard heart so that you can keep your heart with all diligence today?
Has the quick, faith-filled obedience of the man with the withered hand challenged you? Is there something in which you need to obey God? Will you do it today?
We hope this study has showed you the dangers of a hard heart and has challenged you to keep you heart diligently through faith and obedience.
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