Summary: When Jesus heals a woman’s debilitating and oppressive spinal condition on the sabbath, his action draws a rebuke. His sharp retort to his critics implies that his action was totally appropriate, since honoring the sabbath entails reiterating God’s commitment to freedom from oppression. The theological logic that drives this passage and justifies Jesus’ urgent concern for the anonymous woman’s well-being resonates with what Martin Luther King Jr. argues in his famous book Why We Can’t Wait. Well-meaning religious people seem to have a habit of impeding God’s commitment to justice and liberation. Our problem goes beyond ignorance or a lack of compassion. Sometimes our theology, security, and idealism are to blame. We need to rediscover the priorities to which God is committed, such as delivering people from suffering.
Read the full article, which is part of the ON Scripture–The Bible project, on Day1 and Patheos.
Commentary on Mark 2:23-3:6
Summary: When Jesus’ actions and words concerning the sabbath upset a group of Pharisees, Mark’s Gospel begins to draw attention to why some of Jesus’ contemporaries found him so controversial. The two scenes in this passage illustrate the liberative character of God’s reign (kingdom) and show some religious leaders to be resistant to that liberation. Their resistance results in the narrative’s first indications of the opposition that will finally overwhelm Jesus.
I wrote this biblical commentary for those preparing to preach or teach on the passage. Read the commentary at Working Preacher.
Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary
gospel of mark healing Herodians jesus kingdom of god liberation Mark 2:23-3:6 Pharisees plucking grain sabbath withered hand