Shalom and welcome to V’ahavtah Yisroel, a Hebrew phrase which means You Shall Love Israel. We hope you’ll stay with us for the next 30 minutes as our teacher, Dr. Baruch shares his expository teaching from the Bible. Dr Baruch is the senior lecturer at the Zera Avraham Institute based in Israel. Although all courses are taught in Hebrew at the Institute, Dr. Baruch is pleased to share this weekly address in English. To find out more about our work in Israel, please visit us on the web at loveisrael.org. That’s one word. Loveisrael.org. Now, here’s Baruch with today’s lesson.
Dr. Baruch: One of the things that Messiah taught over and over is that he wants to bring a particular order into your life. An order that God always wanted his people to have from the very beginning of creation. Now, one of the things that we can look and learn from, from the book of Genesis is that there is an inherent relationship between creation and the Sabbath day. Now, why do I talk about the Sabbath day? Because the last thing that we learned in our previous study was Messiah saying that He is the Lord of the Sabbath. Now, as we talked about, all too often people simply hear that and believe that that means that Messiah changed something. No, it does not. It means that He restored something, a proper understanding to the Sabbath.
We need to understand that this relationship between creation and Sabbath relates to men. The Sabbath was given, as we saw last week, in order to be a blessing to us. As a scripture says, man was not made for the Sabbath but the Sabbath was made for us. And we see a connection between the will of God and the Sabbath. Now, why do I say that? Because if you look some time at the last verse of chapter one of the book of Genesis, we see that God has finished His process of creation, and He looked and He said, “Behold, all things were very good.” And the first thing that we read about in chapter two was the seventh day, the Sabbath day. And we see how that Sabbath day is uniquely related to the creation of man.
In fact, as we learn according to the tradition, and it’s based in what we read in the first chapter of Genesis, that man was created at the very end of the sixth day. The last thing that took place on the sixth day. To show us that He created us with a need of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is the first thing that we did as a human creation to show a priority, to show a need. And what we’re seeing in the teachings of Messiah and what He’s going to do today shows that Sabbath truth still can bless us today.
So with that said get your Bible and look with me to the book of Mark 3. The book of Mark 3. Now in the previous chapter at the end, there was that debate, that argument about what is proper to do on the Sabbath and what is forbidden to do on the Sabbath. And we see in this third chapter, nothing has changed. It’s still the subject. It’s still the matter of debate. Let’s begin Mark gospel 3:1. We read here, “And again He entered into the synagogue.”
Now when you hear synagogue, what goes into your mind? Literally, this word is a Greek word. It simply means to gather together. But understand there’s a purpose for that, and the purpose is revelation. Now, obviously every day is a day of worship. When we look, for example, at the book of Daniel, we see that in Judaism, and this is according to the will of God, we see that man prayed three times a day every day. So if we associate worship and the Sabbath, we take it out of its biblical context. Every day is a day of worship. But the Sabbath day was a day of restoration and revelation. Now, why do I say that? Because God revealed Himself to Adam, the first man on the Sabbath day.
So it’s a day of revelation. And it’s true that revelation of God that we should respond by honoring Him, glorying Him. Not thinking when we come into the house of worship, what can I get from it? What am I going to benefit from my time that I’m investing in this worship. That’s totally not the right way to think of it. That way of thinking of it is idolatry. Proper worship is what we can offer to God. And we see here there is going to be a group of individuals, unfortunately, a group of leaders. They came into the synagogue, not for revelation. They didn’t come to see God’s created purposes being fulfilled in themselves or in others. They came for a different reason.
And may I suggest to you today that oftentimes people enter into God’s house for an alternative reason, not according to the desires of God. Look again at verse one, “And He entered again into the synagogue and there was there a man, a man having a hand that had withered up.” A withered hand. Now, I’m translating this very literally because I want you to see that in this passage, there’s an emphasis on the fact that there was a man there, not by chance. In fact, from the context we can glean that he was positioned there by a group of leaders. And he was there with a withered hand. Now, that would have been a great burden for this man. When we look at the scripture, we see that the term hand is very important.
For example, King Solomon. He spoke in the book of Kohelet, Ecclesiastes about, “Whatever your hand finds, do it.” So hand is synonymous with labor, with work, with strength. We also see in the book of Exodus it says, “With an outstretched arm and a mighty hand, God brought about redemption.” The Exodus from Egypt. So there’s power, but this man, he lacked all of that. Now that’s not how God created him to be. And remember the context. They’re in the synagogue. It’s the Sabbath day. We’ll see that without any doubt in a few minutes. And they wanted to see if Messiah was going to heal this man. For what purpose? Well, we’ll come to that. But the point I want you to see is that there’s going to be a restoration. There’s going to be on the Sabbath day a going back to the created purposes of God. And that’s something good for us. We should want God’s will. We should want His purposes in our life.
So once again, we read in verse two that this man was positioned there and it says in verse two, “And they watched him if on the Sabbath he would heal him.” Now notice what it doesn’t say. They weren’t interested, they weren’t asking, does He possess the power to heal? And if so, by what means? That wasn’t their question. In fact, they knew He could do it. The question was, would He do it on the Sabbath day? Why? Because in their improper understanding of the Sabbath, such behavior was forbidden.
This man, he apparently wasn’t in pain. He had this withered hand in the past. He would have it on Shabbat. And if some one was going to heal, it didn’t need to be done on the Sabbath day. But here’s the problem, and we talked about this before. On the Sabbath day, there’s several things that’s done in the synagogue, one of which is the reading of the Torah. And immediately after that are the prayers for those who are sick. And the implication is, we pray because we want to serve God. We just heard what God’s expectations are for us in the Torah. The things to do, the things not to do. And we should desire those things. And therefore we pray, if someone is sick, someone has a problem, we pray asking God to move even on the Sabbath day. It is permissible for God to do the work of restoration on the Sabbath day. That’s why we pray.
So, Messiah, He healed on the Sabbath day, as we’ll see, to reveal His identity as God with us. So what we see here is not a question, can He? But they want to know, is He going to do it? Why? Well, what does it say at the end of verse two, “In order that.” Now that was their objective. They didn’t come to worship. They didn’t come to learn. They didn’t come to glorify God. They came, why? In order that they might, and the word here is the same word. It’s a Greek word. It’s comes into Hebrew today, means it’s the same word for a prosecuting attorney. One who wants to bring charges and a sentence of condemnation. And that’s what motivated them.
Now, those aren’t the thoughts of Shabbat. Proper Shabbat is always a positive thinking. Why? Let me give an example. Prayers are changed on Shabbat. Meaning simply, the prayers that we say all throughout the week we limit some of those on Shabbat. For example, prayers of repentance. We don’t want to even mention sin. Everything’s positive on the Sabbath day. Now, it’s interesting because instead of focusing on the positive, the good, the glory, what are they wanting to do? Bring charges of condemnation upon Messiah Yeshua. “In order that they might accuse Him.”
Now, Yeshua, He wasn’t unaware of what was going on. He knew that this plot, He knew that they had positioned this man there. He knew that they wanted to argue with Him about the Sabbath, what was permissible and not permissible to do, and notice how He didn’t avoid it. Why? Initially He wasn’t angry. He didn’t have bad thoughts for those people. He didn’t say I’m going to show them, what He wanted to do was blessed them with the truth. But the question is this, are you an I ready to receive the truth? And if so, how are we going to respond to it?
Look at verse three, what does He say? They were watching to see if he was going to heal. And in verse three it says, “And He says to the man having the withered hand, “rise up.” Now that’s an important statement because it tells us something about the nature of Messiah. When He speaks He always wants to lift us up. Even in discipline, the motivation for disciplining us is that we would be lifted up because of that discipline. But here He says, “Rise up.” A positive statement. He doesn’t avoid the situation. And furthermore, if we read it literally it says, in the middle. Obviously it’s a reference to the middle of the synagogue. So what He’s saying is rise front and center to this man who had the withered hand.
And then we read in verse four He addresses those religious leaders who we’ll find out in a few minutes, the Pharisees. Look at verse four. “And He says to them,” He asked a question. Now, these Pharisees were experts in Torah law in a certain perspective. The perspective of the tradition of the elders. It was that perspective that caused them to interpret the Torah in a way that was somewhat different than what’s literally written in the Torah. So Messiah was going to use this as a teaching opportunity. Revelation, that’s what Shabbat is all about.
So He says to this man, rise front and center, and then He addresses this group of religious leaders. Now they were Pharisees, which means they were experts in Jewish law. Why is that important? Well, because they were ordained for a purpose, to be teachers. And that meant that they answered questions.
According to Jewish law today, if you asked our rabbi if something is permissible or forbidden and he knows the answer, he has to give the right answer. He can’t simply mislead. He can’t just ignore it. He has a responsibility to influence people in the right direction. Now look at what Messiah asks in this passage. Verse four, “He says to them, is it legal on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save a life or to kill?” Now, those wouldn’t be hard questions. They were very, very simple. And sadly, all too often we take the simple truth of God, what is written in His word and we make it very difficult. God doesn’t do that. He has written His word so that we can understand it. I mean, why would He want to make it difficult so we couldn’t follow Him, that we wouldn’t know His truth? So a very simple question, is it lawful to do good or evil on the Sabbath day to heal a life, to save a life or to kill?
Simple question but look at their response. In fact, they had no response. The word day in Greek, which means in contrast. A simple question, but in contrast to that simple question they were silent. Now they knew how to answer. Everyone knew what the proper answer was. But they did not want to respond. Why? Because it wouldn’t further their objective. And here’s the problem. Oftentimes God begins to move in a person’s life. He begins to speak. He begins to lead, but because it’s not the direction we want to go, we are non responsive. And that’s exactly the problem with these Pharisees. It was at that moment that things changed.
Up until this time, Messiah was willing to interact. He wanted to teach them. He wanted to reveal to them the proper understanding of the Sabbath, but they did not want to receive it. Verse five, “And looking at them with anger.” Literally that word it also appears in the book of Revelation for wrath. Why? When we know truth and we reject it we bring upon ourselves the very wrath of God. “And He was grieved because,” it says at the end of verse five, “because of the hardness of their hearts.” But He didn’t allow that anger, that frustration with these groups of leaders to just cause Him to say, “Well, end of story I’m not moving on.” No. What was this thought? Remember, it’s a Sabbath day. Sabbath is about restoration. Sabbath is about revelation. And He was going to reveal Himself through this restoring of this man to the created purposes of God.
Look again, “He was grieved because of the hardness of their hearts, but he says to the man, “Stretch forth your hand.” And he stretched it forth and it was restored.” Or literally it was empowered, his hand, that is. Now Messiah healed in a wide variety of ways. And therefore how He healed is always significant. We always have to pay attention to it. And we’ve been talking here Sabbath, Sabbath, this is related to creation. And therefore what I want to say is this, it is very significant that in this passage of scripture that Messiah healed, not by touching him, not by telling him to do something, but rather simply through speaking.
Why is that important? Well, if you look at the book of Genesis 1, you’ll find in creation that God brought creation about and brought it into its final form where it says, “Behold, everything was very good.” How? By speaking. Not by any action, simply by speaking. And here we seek Messiah bringing about restoration in this man’s hand, restoring it to the created purposes of God. How? Just by speaking. Why? To reveal His identity to those who were there.
So He says to this man, “Stretch out your hand.” The man did. So his hand was empowered. And what happens? Look at verse six, “And the Pharisees went out immediately.” Now, who says that the service was over? Who said that the worship had seized? No one. But they didn’t come for worship. They didn’t come for truth. They came for one purpose and we’ve already encountered it. They came in order to bring condemnation. Such an attitude is improper on the Sabbath day. It’s improper always, but especially on the Sabbath day. So what did they do? Well, because their will wasn’t fulfilled. And let me tell you something, God is never, ever, ever interested in doing your will. What He wants is for us to take our will, nail it to the cross and receive His will. You say, “Well, maybe my will and His will is the same.” Not naturally.
The scripture says, “My ways are not God’s ways. His thoughts are not my thoughts.” So my will in and of myself is never God’s will. It needs to be revealed to me by means of the Holy spirit. One of the gifts of the Holy spirit, illumination. We can only find the will of God through His word and through prayer, by means of the illumination of the Holy spirit. So because these Pharisees, they didn’t get their will accomplished. They didn’t see God move in a way that meeteth their expectations. What happens? They departed.
And I think that’s very significant. Who was there in their presence? God in the flesh. Emmanuel. And what did they do? Because they weren’t getting their way they left Him. And that’s a very important principle. When we are all about getting our ways, getting our desires met, we’re going to find the way that we’re moving is a way from the living God.
Move if you would to verse verse six again, “The Pharisees went out and immediately with the Herodians.” Now the Herodians were their enemies, but they had something in common. They’re Herodians and the Pharisees did not want the change that Messiah was teaching. They didn’t want the miracles and what those miracles revealed taking place. So they took counsel together on, how? Well it literally says, the Pharisees went out immediately with the Herodians. They took counsel.” And there’s an idiom in Greek. It literally means they were given over to bring Him down. Now they were obsessed. That’s what the expression means. They were obsessed with what? Bring Him down. Literally it says, “on how they might destroy Him.”
Now, what was He doing? I mean, was He doing evil? He said, I’ve come to do good. Come to save a life. He says, “What’s your opinion?” He even asked them, “What is it that I should do?” They remained silent. Now what they didn’t like is that they weren’t having their desires, their goals met. They saw Him as an obstacle to that. And therefore what did they want to do? Let me ask you. Is it appropriate to want to kill someone? I mean, someone who has that mindset is far removed from the will of God. And when we go by the traditions of man, what was their law called? [foreign language 00:22:14] And when we follow the [foreign language 00:22:17], the traditions of the elders, that is the traditions of man rather than the word of God, what’s going to happen? We’re going to be departing from intimacy and the blessings and the truth of the living God.
Move on to verse seven. Now verse seven most Bibles will begin a new paragraph to show that there is a change. The Sabbath is over, and we read in verse seven, “And Yeshua with His disciples withdrew to,” Where? “Along the sea.” Now we’ve talked about how the sea, the Kinneret, the sea of Galilee is a very important location regard to Messiah. That’s a place that He’s going to begin to reveal the kingdom truth. So over and over we see, especially in the book of Mark, how Messiah is always going by and near the sea of Galilee.
Verse seven once more, “And Yeshua with His disciples withdrew to the sea and a great multitude followed from Galilee, followed Him, and from Judea, and from Jerusalem, and even from,” what’s it said. “From Edom. And from across the Jordan from Tyre and Sidon.” Now what’s important here? Well, we see another hint concerning the messiahship of Yeshua. This scripture is written over and over in every passage that we might understand without any doubt that Yeshua is the Messiah.
Now, Messiah has some specific works that He’s supposed to do. But we can define them and divide them into two types. The work of redemption, meaning the atoning for sin, and the work of redemption bringing about the outcome of the atonement of sin which is the kingdom. Now obviously He came the first time, some 2000 years ago to pay the price for sin. He’ll come again to do that final work of redemption, which is establishing the kingdom of God. But we see throughout the gospels Messiah giving hint that He is indeed Messiah, the son of David who will establish the kingdom. Why do I say that?
Well, one of the teachings, if you go for example, to a very, very well known book in Judaism called Mishneh Torah means literally the second Torah. And it’s written by a very well known rabbi, rabbi Maimonides known as the RaMBaM. And in his book, which is really a series of of books, he writes Jewish law and he’s the only rabbi ever to write Jewish law concerning Messiah. And in his work he has certain things that Messiah does. Unfortunately in his work he only deals with the work of Messiah when he returns, the second coming. Rather than the thing that Messiah is supposed to do and Messiah was doing. That is to pay the punishment for sin in behalf of humanity.
But one of the things he says is the Messiah will [foreign language 00:25:43] Israel, meaning he’ll gather up the exiles of Israel. He’s going to have an impact upon the Jewish community, not just in Israel but also outside of Israel. And that’s why this verse is so important. Why? Because we read in the same passage, look again, middle of verse seven, “and a great multitude, not just from the Galilee followed him, but also from Judea and from Jerusalem and from Edom. Why is that important? Because Edom, biblically speaking, when we look at Esau, who’s the father of the Edomites, whenever Edom comes up in the scripture, we see that they are the enemies of God’s people. They stand in opposition to the things of God. But there’s even going to be a remnant of the Edomites that in the last days come to Messiah.
And therefore we see how not only those ones of the children of Israel are responding in the land, but also in Edom, also across the Jordan, also in Lebanon, in Tyre and Sidon. So we see a hint that He is indeed the one who is going to gather up the exiles from Israel and bring them back to the land. And finally we see why they did that. Look at the end of verse eight, we read, “And a great multitude heard which He had done and they came to Him.” They responded. Well, we know that faith comes by hearing.
And I want to conclude with a question to you. And that is, when you come across the truth of the living God, when you see the work of Messiah, what He’s doing here, are you going to be like that multitude that they heard and they responded? They left where they were to follow Him. And if you are unwilling to leave where you are, to make changes, His changes in your life, that He’s going to go one way and you’re going to go another. The kingdom is going to be establish and you’re going to be left out where there’s darkness, howling and gnashing of teeth. It’s a very simple choice, but one that only you can make. Well we’ll close with that until next time when we press on in our study of the gospel of Mark.
Speaker 1: Well, we hope you will benefit from today’s message and share it with someone else. Please plan to join us each week at this time and on this station for the radio edition of loveisrael.org. Again, to find out more about us, please visit us at our website, loveisrael.org. There you will find articles and several other lectures from our teacher Dr. Baruch. These teachings are in video form. You may download them or watch them in streaming video. Until next week, may the Lord bless you in our Messiah Yeshua, that is Jesus as you walk with Him. Shalom from Israel.