Mark 3:1-6 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. 2 And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” 4 And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
What do you do with a group of people, who see that you are doing a good thing, but all they want to do is watch you closely, to accuse you of doing wrong? These Pharisees watched Jesus so closely on the Sabbath to see if he would do what is ‘not lawful’ on the Sabbath. I find it interesting that on the day called Sabbath, when they are to be at rest, they are working harder than anyone else trying to prove Jesus a fraud, or worse, a heretic. At the end of the previous chapter they begin with sowing doubt saying, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” (Mark 2:24)
Sow Doubt: To cause someone to have doubts, worries, or concerns (about something)
To introduce someone to a doubtful or worrisome idea.
At the root of doubt is fear. I can imagine these men were full of fear; fear of losing statue, influence, and position. The people flocked to Jesus. He loved them and took care of their ailments. He healed them and forgave them of sin. These men were beside themselves looking for a reason and time to take him down. The Bible tells us in Mark 3:2 what their motive was, “they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him.”
At one point, Jesus asked them a direct question, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” The answer is simple, it is lawful to do good and to save life! But they were silent. This is one of those moments were being silent is a sure sign they had been proven wrong but they weren’t about to admit it. Have you ever been there? The scripture says that Jesus looked around at them in anger and was grieved at their hardness of heart. Then he healed the man. Jesus uncovered these men’s heart attitude right out in the open for all to see. They didn’t want to help people. They wanted to be right. They didn’t want to see people healed. They wanted to have them come to them for advise and counsel. They refused to admit that he was right and it was right to do good on any day. So they held counsel with the Herodians, those who sympathetic to King Herod and supported his rule. They chose to hold counsel with their enemy to take down Jesus and destroy him than to see Jesus for who he was.
Doubt also means to be of two minds. It is the sense of being between two things. Doubt is a seed that if allowed to grow causes us to split in two. It pits us between two things. For the Pharisee’s they were between admitting that Jesus was God and being right. They obviously could see that Jesus had the power and authority to heal and cast out demons. He spoke and preach the word with authority. Their hearts had to be pricked with the truth but somewhere along the line anyone who didn’t do what they thought was right became their enemy. Doubt leaves us with the choice between uncertainty and trust. It causes us to hesitate to believe that God is truly good. Jesus will always bring us to the point of decision, will we trust Him or will we doubt.