Bible Study Lessons

How’s Your Heart

Introduction

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.

Observation

Pray

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.

Context

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?

Where is Jesus in today's passage?

Day

What day is it?

The Man

Who else is in the synagogue that is singled out?

Different

What is different or special about him? Why does he feature in today's passage?

Watching

Who is watching Jesus in verse 2 based on the context from the last chapter?

Why?

Why are the Pharisees watching Jesus according to the end of verse 2?

Command

What does Jesus say in verse 3?

Addressed

Who does Jesus address in verse 4?

Said…

What does Jesus say to the Pharisees in verse 4?

Silence

What is their response?

Looking

What were Jesus' two emotions as He looked at the silent Pharisees?

Reason

What is the reason for His anger and grief according to verse 5?

Jesus Speaks

What does Jesus say in verse 5?

The Man Responds

How does the man respond to Jesus' command?

Result

What is the result of the man's obedience?

Immediately

What is the Pharisees' immediate response to Jesus' miracle?

Who?

With whom do the Pharisees hold a meeting?

Purpose

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.

Hard Heart

Hard Heart

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.

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Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ

As we've done through the first two chapters of this book, mark the words referring to Jesus in Mark 3:1-6.

Interpretation

Parallel

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?

Another Miracle

Mark previously recorded Jesus doing a miracle in the synagogue in Mark 1:21-28.

Pharisees

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.

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Provoking

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.

Hatred

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.

The Pharisees

What kind of person were these Pharisees according to their actions when we look at them in light of Psalm 37:32?

By Then

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.

Pilate's Assessment

What was Pilate's assessment of their attitude toward Jesus?

Woe

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.

The Tension

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?

Sabbath

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.

Command

What did God command His people before Christ's death and resurrection to do (or not do) on the Sabbath?

Tension Builds

Matthew 12:9-14 records a few more details about today's encounter at the Synagogue.

Set Up

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?

Jesus' Words

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?

Another Time

We see Jesus using the same illustration on another occasion in Luke 13:10-17.

Again

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.

No Answer

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.

Opposite

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?

The End

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.

Israel

Hebrews 3:15-19 tells us more about the hardened heart of many of the Israelites and the consequences of it.

Dangerous

What do these verses teach us about a hard heart?

Jesus' Anger

This post explains how Jesus could be angry and still be righteous.

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Weeping

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.

Like God

Hebrews 3:7-11 reveals that grief was God's response to Israel's hard heart also.

God's Heart

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.

Grieved

Why was Jesus grieved over their hard hearts?

Carried On

Did Jesus allow their stubbornness to stop Him from doing what was right?

Response

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?

Contrast

In contrast to the Pharisees, how did the man with the deformed hand respond to Jesus?

Living Faith

James 2:14-20 shows us that real, living faith will show itself through actions.

Obedience

The Pharisees showed their unbelief through their actions and words, how do we see this man's faith through his actions?

Herodians

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.

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Meeting

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?

Archenemies

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?

Sense

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?

The Disciples

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.

Forgetful

Jesus reveals more indications of a hard heart in Mark 8:17-18.

Again

We see Jesus rebuking the disciples for a hard heart again after His resurrection in Mark 16:9-14.

Be Careful

Hebrews 3:12-13 warns God's people against allowing their hearts to grow hard.

Another Name

What else can you call a hard heart according to Hebrews 3:12?

The Cause

What does Hebrews 3:13 say will harden our hearts?

Prevention

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?

Other Reasons

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)?

Important Work

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.

Important

How important is it to guard your heart against unbelief and stubbornness?

Careful

How careful are you going to have to be?

Once More

Read Mark 3:1-6 once more in light of everything you've seen in God's Word.

Summary

In your own words, summarize today's passage and how it should change our lives.

Application

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?

Obedience

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?

Wrapup

Closing

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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