Pharisees and Sanhedrin

  • Peter Friesen, Author
  • Retired Minister

Mark 3:1-5… 1) Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2) Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3) Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone. 4) Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. 5) He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. (NIV)

Everybody – me included – will be misunderstood by someone eventually. Nobody is so perfect that they will always be understood, it just will not happen. But how we react at that moment can spell the difference between a positive relationship, or a relationship broken and crushed. And while most misunderstandings are easily cleared up, some, on the other hand linger for years, and some are never cleared up. Sad, when some folks go to their graves never overcome the misunderstanding that happened between themselves and the unlucky person who offended them.

Did you know that the Pharisees and Sanhedrin, who were the leaders of the church when Jesus walked on earth, misunderstood Christ? Oh yes! They misunderstood. However, these fellows loved to be noticed. In Jesus’s day the front seats in the Synagogue (Church) were the seats of honor, and likely they paraded down the aisle just after the start of the church service to make sure everybody took notice. They were sitting there, not to worship Christ, they were there to scrutinize Jesus’ every action. They thought it was their duty to deal with anyone who was likely to mislead the people and seduce them from what they thought was the right way. The sad part of all this is we have folks today who do the very same thing. It upset Christ then, and it should upset us today.

Jesus knew that this man’s life was not in danger. He would be no worse off should Jesus decide to leave him until the next day. However, for Jesus, this was a test case, and He met it head on; because he told the man in verse three to rise and to come out of his seat and stand where everyone could see him.

Very likely Jesus wished to make one last effort to awaken sympathy for the stricken man by showing everyone his affliction. Jesus certainly wished to take the next step He was going to take in such a way that no one could possibly fail to see what He had done. He asked the experts in the law two questions in verse four… Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil? The Pharisees and Sanhedrin had to admit that it was lawful to do good; and had to deny that it was lawful to do evil. Then Jesus asked them… Is it lawful to save a life or to kill it? Jesus was taking steps to save this unhappy man’s life; they on the other hand were thinking about ways of killing him. Surely it was better to think about helping a man than it was to be thinking of killing a man… They remained silent. No wonder they had nothing to say. But now look at what Jesus did in verse five… Jesus looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Jesus with a word of power healed the man, the Pharisees on the other hand were rule makers.

In almost every family circle, among almost every circle of friends, misunderstandings exist that eat away at relationships like acid. And like the Pharisees and Sanhedrin, the longer they are left unattended, the more destructive they become. Forgiveness must occur when there’s been a collision in a relationship over some misunderstanding. It does not necessarily mean we have to agree, perhaps we will not be able to restore the relationship – Christ was misunderstood, but forgiveness was aways there… To God Be The Glory Great Things He Has Done

Would you pray this prayer with me? “Lord Jesus, come into my heart. Forgive my sins. I want my life to change. My thoughts and my attitude need to change. I do not have the peace in my heart that I yearn for. I want that peace, joy and happiness that fulfills my heart’s desire. Please let the Holy Spirit help me be the kind of Christian that will honour Your Name. Amen”