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Mark 3:2

ESV And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him.
NIV 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.
NASB And they were watching Him closely to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.
CSB In order to accuse him, they were watching him closely to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath.
NLT Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.
KJV And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
NKJV So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.

What does Mark 3:2 mean?

While this verse seems vague, at first, Mark 3:6 identifies the "they" watching Jesus as Pharisees. In Mark 1:27, the Pharisees are amazed by Jesus' teaching. In Mark 2:16, they question His followers about His willingness to associate with sinners who do not follow the Pharisees' painstakingly established rules. In Mark 2:24, they confront Jesus about His disciples picking heads of grain to eat on the Sabbath. Thanks to those encounters, their animosity is growing.

Now the Pharisees purposefully tempt Jesus, hoping He will break the law enough to charge Him with a crime. Matthew 12:10 says they ask Him if healing on the Sabbath would be breaking the law. Under the Law of Moses, to work on the Sabbath is a capital offense (Exodus 31:14). The Mosaic Law did not specifically ban healing on the Sabbath. However, Rabbis taught that healing was only allowed if the person's life, limb, or sight was threatened. Although the man's limb is injured, the Pharisees seem to believe it can wait until the Sabbath is over. If Jesus can heal him then and there, He can certainly heal him the next day. The hand may cause discomfort, but it is a long-standing injury and can wait.

Readers should note: the Pharisees do not doubt Jesus' ability to heal the man. They fully accept His miraculous power. But they have no desire to contemplate who Jesus is and where His power comes from. For them, all that matters is that Jesus' use of power in ways contrary to their manmade laws threatens their authority.

That's something to think about, even today. If God's truth gets in the way of our worldly position and power, which will we choose to value more?
What is the Gospel?
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