See Beyond the Signs

Read Mark 7:31–37. Fingers in man’s ears…spit on the man’s tongue…what is Jesus doing? It was a visible demonstration of what he was going to do. This man’s healing was instant, complete, and advanced. He began to speak plainly.
(Verse 37) This statement recalled Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah’s day. See Isaiah 35:5-6; Exodus 4:11.
This miracle has as much to do with spiritual as it does with physical healing. We can apply this miracle to the spiritual situation of many Christians today.
  • We need to be opened up to wholeness of life.
  • We need to be opened up to be able to witness.
  • We need to be opened up so we can act.
  • We need to be opened to living out through our lives a demonstration of the spiritual healing Christ has done in our lives.

May God open my ears to His Truth and loose my tongue to speak His Good News freely.

Read Mark 8:1–10. Not the same as the previous feeding of a multitude. Jesus had already found the resources in a previous remote place for an even larger crowd (6:35), yet the disciples were completely perplexed as to how they should be expected to feed them. Like the disciples, we often forget God’s provision for us in the past. When facing a difficult situation, remember how God cared for you and trust him to work faithfully again. Remember what Christ has done, and have faith that he will do it again. With Christ, nothing is impossible.

The little I have to offer Christ becomes more than enough when placed in His hands and used for His purposes.

Read Mark 8:11–13. The Pharisees had tried to explain away Jesus’ previous miracles by claiming that they had been done by luck, coincidence, or evil power (see 3:22). Here they demanded a sign from heaven — something beyond a mere miracle. Mark pointed out that this was a test.
While Jesus had done and would continue to do miracles in response to people’s faith and to reveal God’s presence and power within him, he would never give a sign in answer to the demands of religious hypocrites who would not believe it anyway. See John 20:29.

You don’t put your faith in a powerful sign, you put your faith in a personal Savior.

Jesus did not come to earth to convince people to come to him by performing wonders; he came inviting people to come to him in faith, and as a response to their faith, he performed great miracles.
Read Mark 8:14–21. As the disciples were worrying about bread, Jesus used the opportunity to teach of the danger of the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod. In the Old Testament (and New), leaven symbolized corruption and the infectious power of evil.
The Pharisees and Herod seem to have little in common. But they do share one poisonous fault that can infect others. Jesus does not explicitly identify what that toxic flaw is, but the context points to their obstinate refusal to believe in spite of the evidence. So Jesus warns the disciples not to fall victim to this same insidious unbelief.

A small amount of evil left unattended in your life can poison your faith.



God’s Table

Read: Mark 7:24-26
What was this woman life like?
What are the first things that come to your mind when you think about someone begging?

Point 1: Our relationship with God starts when we have a humble heart and ask Him for help.

Mathew 7:7 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Example: Story of Jacob Wrestling God (Genesis 32)
Genesis 32:26 – “Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’ But Jacob replied, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’”
She didn’t just ask; she begged Jesus. How does Jesus respond?
Read: Mark 7:27
Did Jesus insult this woman by responding this way?
One key to understanding it is the very unusual word Jesus uses for “dogs” here. He uses a diminutive form, a word that really means “puppies.” Remember, the woman is a mother. Jesus is saying to her, “You know how families eat: First the children eat at the table, and afterward their pets eat too. It is not right to violate that order. – Tim  Keller, Jesus The King
Read: Mark 7:28

Point 2: Don’t demand God to do anything for you based on your goodness, but instead humbly ask God to give you what you don’t deserve based on His goodness.

Read: Mark 7:29-30

Point 3: God’s love is so large there is enough for everyone.

John 6:33-35 – For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”
What do you need to beg God for this morning? Salvation, a friend, family member ?
Let’s humbly ask God to give us what we don’t deserve based on his goodness.
Today we can come to the table of the Lord and get our fill even if we are just the dogs under it.


Heart of the Matter

(Verse 1-2) Jesus was constantly scrutinized and condemned by the groups of people that Mark identified as “Pharisees and teachers of the law.” A majority of the conflict between Jesus and these leaders had to do with interpretations of the law and the traditions of the elders.
(Verse 3) Ceremonial washing has its origin in the Old Testament law but it specifically applied to the priesthood (Exodus 30) The priest would wash his hands and feet before performing sacred duties in the temple.In the centuries following the Jews’ return from Babylonian captivity, Jewish religious leaders had added hundreds of religious traditions to God’s laws. The Pharisees and scribes considered these religious traditions to be as binding and unbreakable as God’s law itself.
By their scrupulous observance of traditions and rituals, they had completely lost their perspective on the reason the law of God had been given: to bring God’s kingdom to earth, to provide reconciliation between God and his people, and to bring peace.
(Verse 4) This washing was not to clean dirty hands; it was a ceremonial washing to cleanse them from their contact with defiled “sinners” or Gentiles.
(Verse 5-7) Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah and calls them hypocrites — play actors, pretenders. The religious leaders might say all the right words and give lip-service to God, but their hearts were far from God.

God is always more concerned about the condition of your heart than the content of your lips.

We become hypocrites when we:
  1. pay more attention to appearance or reputation than to character
  2. carefully follow certain religious practices while allowing our heart to remain far from God
  3. emphasize our goodness and others’ sins
(Verse 8-9) The religious leaders are guilty of the very thing they are trying to avoid. Every time we add to the law of God, we inevitably subtract from it, because instead of putting our attention on the things that God is concerned about, human traditions cause us to lose sight of what concerns Him. They had left the commandment of God behind in order to hold to human tradition.
The original commands of God were meant to bring God’s Kingdom near but the traditions of the elders placed God and His peace out of reach of the common people. See Matthew 23:1-5; 13.
(Verse 10-12) The scribes and Pharisees knew Moses’ words backward and forward. But they found a way to break them while still looking religious. The practice of Corban (“offering”) meant that a person could dedicate something to God, but in such a way that they didn’t give it to the temple. Instead, they only legally excluded other (like their parents) from using it. They could still use the money any way they chose, but could use his Corban vow as an excuse not to give any money to help his needy parents.
(Verse 13-16) In his example, Jesus clarified to these hypocritical religious leaders that God’s law, not oral tradition, was the true authority over people’s lives. Jesus explains that the Pharisees were wrong in thinking they were acceptable to God just because they were “clean” on the outside. He explained that defilement is not an external matter but an internal one. See Matthew 23:25-28. Sin begins in the heart, just as the prophet Jeremiah had said hundreds of years before (Jeremiah 17:9–10).
(Verses 17-19) Moral defilement has nothing to do with food. Sin in a person’s heart is what defiles, not the lack of ceremonial cleansing or the type of food eaten. It is disobedience that defiles, and disobedience begins in the heart.

When it comes to sin, the heart of the matter is that something is the matter with your heart.

(Verses 20-23) With this conclusion, Jesus gets to the Heart of the Matter. Evil intentions begin within, in a person’s heart.

The contents of heart become the conduct of your life.

When people become Christians, God makes them different on the inside. He will continue the process of change inside them if they only ask. True Christianity lived from the inside-out, not the outside-in.
Then Jesus listed a catalog of twelve “evil intentions” that come from the heart. All these evil actions and attitudes begin in a person’s heart. And it is those evil actions and attitudes that cause defilement.
The cure? The good news of the Gospel offers the only cure for humanity’s natural defilement. Cleansing can only come by the blood of Jesus Christ offered on our behalf. Only then can we become “pure” before God. See Joel 2:12-13; Hebrews 10:22; James 4:8.


Take Courage

Divine Power + Divine Compassion = Daily Courage

(Mark 6:45-46) John’s account of the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 gives us the reason Jesus had his disciples quickly leave for across the sea and why he went up on the mountain to pray. See John 6:14-15. Jesus had come to be their spiritual Savior. But they wanted to crown him King and force Him to become their physical, national Savior.
We will always be tempted to pursue the temporal fix over the true eternal solution. It takes courage to stay true to God’s plan for your life.

Prayer fuels the courage we need to keep us in line with God’s purpose for our lives.

(Mark 6:47–48a) Jesus saw them straining as they rowed. There are times that Jesus will take you where you haven’t intended to go in order to produce in you something you could not achieve on your own.
(Mark 6:48b) Why did Jesus walk to them on the water? He walked in order to be present with them in the storm. But there’s another reason. Treading the waves is something that only God can do (Job 9:8; Isa. 43:16; 51:10). Jesus walking on the sea was an unmistakable picture of his identity and power.
(Mark 6:48b–50a ) Jesus passed by in an attempt to show himself, Son of God, walking on the storm to save them; trodding underfoot the very thing that was working against them. He did this with the intention to change their perspective and reassure them that they are never alone.
(Mark 6:50b) The reason they could take courage wasn’t just because he said the words. They could take courage because Jesus is “I AM.” This name encompasses all his divine attributes and empowers all his promises. The “I AM” of Christ means He is present and active in this moment — NOW!
Fear is a normal reaction to something beyond our power or control. Jesus’ presence is cause for courage which is the ability or strength to act in the face of your fear.
Courage is never exercised if we avoid our fears. Do you lack courage today? Perhaps it is time to face your fears, knowing Christ is with you to give you courage.

Christ’s presence produces courage in the midst of our struggles and fears.

(Mark 6:51–56) Amazement is not the same as faith. Amazement is an activity of the brain. Amazement is being taken beyond the categories you have to explain or define something. Faith is an activity of the heart that involves the mind. A commitment of the heart to a reality that changes the way you live your life. Which are you living by?
Hardness and blindness often characterize us when we center on the situation rather than on Jesus. How can they still be so hardened? Having a hard heart or being hardened means being resistance to change, inflexible, unmoving.
I can take courage because the great “I AM” is with me at all times. See Deuteronomy 31:6.


Amazing Unbelief

Text: Mark 6:1–6 (NIV)
verse 1) In Jesus’ time, Nazareth was a small, obscure village. It covered around 60 acres, and fewer than five hundred people lived there. Nazareth, of course, was not the place of Jesus’ birth (He was born in Bethlehem), but it was the village where He grew up. Having grown up in this tiny place, Jesus probably knew almost everyone in the town. In a small town, everyone knew everyone’s business.
(verse 2a) This was not the first time he had spoken and taught in Nazareth (See Luke 4:14–30). The response at that time was less than positive—in fact, the people had tried to kill him, but Jesus had walked away unharmed.
So, this trip to Nazareth is significant. The people of Nazareth were about to receive a second chance to believe. Which shows us something quite remarkable about Jesus.

Because of his love and grace, Jesus is willing to give us second chances.

(verse 2b) Amazement seemed to be the common response to Jesus’ ministry and teaching. See Mark 1:22; 1:27; 2:12; 5:20.
The difference between the “amazement” of those accounts and the amazement of the people he grew up with in Nazareth is that the people of Nazareth were more amazed (perplexed) about how Jesus could even possibly teach with such authority and wisdom. They questioned his credentials and the source of His authority and power.

Amazement in Jesus doesn’t mean you truly believe in Jesus.

(verse 2c) Their amazement focused on this man they knew and watched grow up and where he, in particular, had gotten these things (referring to the wisdom of his teaching and the miracles he performed). They were amazed that it was coming from Jesus, of all people.
(verse 3a) The people had grown up with Jesus and know him only as the village carpenter, who has worked on their homes, furniture, and farm implements. “He’s no better than we are—he’s just a common laborer,” they said.
(verse 3b) Some translations say “Son of Mary.” This wasn’t a term that was intended to honor Mary or Jesus. This was more than likely meant to be a derogatory statement about Jesus’ conception out of wedlock.

(verse 3c) They list his very ordinary siblings. We do not know much about Jesus’ siblings, but one of the things we do know is shocking—during His public ministry, they were not believers.
(verse 3d) The Greek word used for “offense” is the word from which we get our English word scandal. It was also the word used of a building stone that was rejected. Jesus, of course, is seen as the rejected stone in Scripture (See Psalm 118:22). The prophet Isaiah foretold that Jesus would be “despised and rejected by men” (Isaiah 53:3).

There are only two true responses to the Lordship of Jesus: rejection or subjection. There is no middle ground.

(verse 4) Jesus said that a prophet is never honored in his hometown. But that doesn’t make his or her work any less important. If friends, neighbors, or family don’t respect your Christian belief, don’t let their rejection keep you from serving God.
(verse 5) That Jesus could not do any miracles in Nazareth does not mean a restriction on his power. Rather, Jesus could have done greater miracles in Nazareth, but he chose not to because of the people’s unbelief.

As a general principle, God’s power follows faith!

In the Bible, unbelief is regarded as a mind-set, a stubborn refusal to believe, a moral rebellion, not merely a logical conclusion of evaluating the evidence. Jesus did few miracles in his hometown because of the people’s unbelief.
Unbelief blinds us to the truth and robs us of hope.
(verse 6a) There are only a couple of times in Scripture that Jesus is amazed by others. This account and Matthew 8:10.
Christ is still amazed by the quality of our faith. Which side of the amazement coin is the quality of your faith? How do you want to amaze Jesus? What do you want him to see in you that makes him say “Wow! I can’t believe that!”?
(verse 6b) Being rejected in His hometown, He took His ministry elsewhere — where it would be received.
This passage highlights the saying “Familiarity breed contempt.” We all have a tendency to lose our appreciation, wonder, amazement of those things that become familiar, routine, in-close-proximity to us on a daily basis.
Does your familiarity with Jesus breed contempt or commitment?

Treating Jesus as a familiar friend will leave your faith empty in the end.



For The One

Read: Mark 5:1-5. This man had such unusual strength that he could not be restrained by chains. No one could subdue him any longer. Chains couldn’t hold him. This show us something about evil. You cannot restrain evil by some external force. Evil behaviors come from within. People tried to restrain this man to control his evil behaviors and actions. It was not effective. He needed a different approach. He needed to be changed from the inside out.
The man was trying to release the pain and torment of these demons by crying out and cutting himself. But this also shows us something else about evil. Evil is destructive. Sin is always self-destructive. There is no such thing as constructive evil or constructive sin. We must be cautious of the subtle destructive power of evil and sin. It may not seem destructive at first glance. The first experiment may not have been destructive. But don’t kid yourself. Evil and sin are always self-destructive.
Read: Mark 5:6–8. The evil within this man quickly discerned a greater power was present in the form of Jesus. Calling Jesus by his name was an attempt of the demon to control Jesus.
Then the demon mocks Jesus “What have you to do with me?” (ESV) Evil is always against God. Its goal is to destroy God and anything to do with Him. This has been his strategy from the very beginning.
Read: Mark 5:9-10. A legion of soldiers usually numbered 6,000. The man probably didn’t have 6,000 demons in him but a great number (perhaps around 2000). No wonder no one could subdue him. He was like a Legion of Roman Soldiers all wrapped up in one man.
But don’t glamorize this. He wasn’t a superhuman. He was a tormented man who had slowly lost his humanity under the harsh dictatorship of these demons. Which is another effect of evil: Evil diminishes the value of humanity.
In Luke’s account, the demons beg Jesus to not send them to the abyss. The time for banishing demons has not yet come. But that time will come through the death and resurrection of Christ. See Colossians 2:15. A time is coming, as Revelation shows, that all evil will be vanquished and cast into the eternal lake of fire. Why wait? Evil shows us our need of a Savior.

Read: Mark 5:11–13. They had to ask the Lord of all Creation permission to enter the pigs. Evil does not have authority over Christ, the Lord.
Why pigs? Don’t let this part overshadow the key truth behind this passage — Jesus has absolute authority over evil. However, Evil always leads to death.
Read: Mark 5:14–17.

Jesus’ power and grace to save is available for the one you fear is too far gone.

When you feel that someone is too far gone, remember that Jesus’ power and authority is limitless. Do you pray for your loved ones as though Jesus really is the ultimate authority over evil?
Read: Mark 5:18–20. In this account we see the power of God’s mercy and love that captures and transforms those who do not even know that it exists and may initially resist it when it invades their lives. Freedom can also come to you when Jesus lands on the shores of your life.
Why would Jesus not allow this man to join him? Jesus’ grace for the one needs to be proclaimed freely for the next one to be saved.
So this story comes to a close with only one person being saved. Some might have considered this evangelistic outreach a failure. But let’s not forget that Jesus is always interested in the one. There is no such thing as crowd salvation. Jesus still saves one person at a time.
Jesus’ power and grace to save is still available for the one you fear is too far gone. Who is the one you know that needs to experience the saving power of Christ today?


Peace, Be Still

Read: Mark 4:35–37. What brought these disciples into this storm? There are plenty of times that I create my own storms/problems through bad decisions, stubborn pride, selfish interests, etc. Those storms are the result of disobedience (Example: Jonah).
But this storm wasn’t due to the disobedience of the disciples. They were precisely where they were when the storm came because they obeyed Jesus. They are doing everything right and yet everything wrong is happening.
Isn’t it true that storms are a good illustration of the fear and panic that often overtake us when situations beyond our control surround us and overwhelm us?
Fear, in general, isn’t a wrong response. It’s what we do with that fear that makes all the difference.
Read: Mark 4:38. Chances are pretty high that you have felt something like what these disciples must have felt. “We’re freaking and Jesus is sleeping. We are losing and Jesus is snoozing. The storm’s pouring and Jesus is snoring.”
Read: Mark 4:38. How long did they struggle before they went to Jesus? For these seasoned fishermen, their “know how” wasn’t getting them out of this storm. That’s when they shifted from “know how” to “know who”. They know who can help them. When your “know how” is insufficient, you “know who” is sufficient.
Their words were more of a criticism than a call for help. How easy it is for us to complain and criticize Christ for not coming to our aid, rather than making our request and then trusting him to answer.
What was their expectation of Jesus? “Jesus, do something to help us. Grab a bucket and start bailing!” How many times do we just want Jesus to bail us out of our troubles on our terms? Shouldn’t we instead invite Him to do whatever He sees fit to not only help us but to also teach us something about who He is?
We should not be alarmed by surprises in our lives. Surprises are divinely ordained moments where God is working in the everyday circumstances of our lives to reveal who He is, who we are, and who we need!
Are you overwhelmed by the troubling storms around you or are you overwhelmed by the peace of Christ within you? The reality of the storm came between them and their assurance of Jesus’ care. But Jesus still cares even when we misunderstand him and accuse him of not caring for us.
Read: Mark 4:39. He did something that his disciples never expected. He spoke to the storm. Quiet! Be still! Is also translated “Quiet! Be muzzled!”
I find it interesting that Jesus brought peace right where the storm raged. Rather than removing his disciples from the storm, he spoke peace right in the midst of that storm. Do you need Jesus to speak that over the storm in your life? Jesus brought peace to the storm on the lake, He can bring peace to the storm in your life.

Jesus still speaks peace over storm-tossed lives and calms anxious hearts.

Read: Mark 4:40. When storms come it reveals the integrity of your faith. And apparently, the disciples’ faith was found wanting. Of all people, Jesus’ own disciples should have had faith. Would Jesus put the same question to us? “After all I have done in you and for you, how is it that you have no faith?“
Read: Mark 4:41. Storms reveal what we believe about the identity and authority of Jesus. In every storm there is an opportunity for us to wonder and to discover more about Christ and who He is in our life. See Philippians 4:6-7.


Cultivate the Soil of Your Soul

Read: Mark 4:1-12
See Isaiah 6:8–10.
As in Isaiah’s day, the crowds and leaders are continually seeing and hearing the truths in Jesus, but because of their hardened hearts they can never perceive the reality of the kingdom in him.
But the disciples came as open-hearted individuals wanting to hear, see and obey. So they press for clarity.
Read: Mark 4:13
Parables, in their spiritual function, are more like riddles or puzzles than easy illustrations. They can be understood by those who have the right “key.”
If you miss the key, you miss the whole parable. You can only understand it by understanding the key: The sower sows the word.
Read: Mark 4:14-20. The seed is the gospel truth, the message about the Word. The soils then describe the ways people respond to these gospel truths. The four soils refer to the groups that Jesus has challenged: the leaders (the hard-packed road), the crowds (the rocky and the thorny soils), and the disciples (the fruitful soil).
In both the parable and its interpretation the four kinds of soil are central.
Jesus is asking, “Which kind of soil are you?

Cultivate the soil of your soul so that the Word of God bears fruit in your life.

1) Break up the hardened ground.
2) Break through the obstacles.
3) Weed out the competition.
4) Let the Word take root AND bear fruit.


Opposition Rising

Read: Mark 3:7–12. By the end his first year of public ministry, the influence of his ministry has spread throughout all Palestine. The primary cause of its explosive growth was his ministry of physical healing and demonic deliverance.

People often come to Jesus for what they can get from him, rather than what they should give to him.

This is still a problem today. What brought you to Jesus? What do you bring to him?

Read: Mark 3:13–19. Jesus did not choose these twelve to be his disciples because of their faith—it often faltered. He didn’t choose them because of their talent and ability—no one stood out with unusual ability. The one characteristic they all shared was their willingness to obey Jesus.

Jesus still qualifies the unqualified to serve His mission.

Within the call of Christ is the ability to live up to that call.
Their companionship with him is to lead to service that benefits others. They are not merely on the receiving end of this outbreak of power but are to become channels by which it touches others. A byproduct of being with Jesus is ministering to others as Jesus did.
Read: Mark 3:20–21. Thinking he had gone “over the edge” as a religious fanatic, his family came to him. They decided he had truly gone out of his mind with this “Messiah stuff” and that they needed to take charge of him. Do you have family misunderstandings? Jesus knows what that feels like! Read:
Mark 3:22–27. In an attempt to destroy Jesus’ popularity among the people, the scribes accused him of having power from Satan. In fact, they say that he is possessed by none other than Satan himself.
He would debunk their nonsense in parables. Jesus called Satan a strong man in this parable. The only way those possessions could be carried off would be for someone to first tie up the strong man—the only way for the demons to be cast out is for someone to first limit Satan’s power. Jesus’ coming into the world did just that. See 1 John 3:8.

The Holy Spirit within us is stronger that the power of Satan around us.

Read: Mark 3:28–30. Jesus introduces the concept of the unpardonable sin in this passage. Before we get to the unpardonable sin, the good news that Jesus shares first is that people can be forgiven all their sins. Too often people miss this promise and worry about the warning in the next verse. But the fact is, those who believe in Jesus will be forgiven of all sins and of all blasphemies.

When there is confession and repentance, no sin is beyond God’s forgiveness.

So what is the unpardonable sin? Generally speaking, it is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit refers not so much to a single action or word as to an attitude. Sometimes believers worry that they have accidentally committed this unforgivable sin. But only those who have turned their back on God and rejected all faith have any need to worry. Jesus said they can’t be forgiven—not because their sin is worse than any other, but because they will never ask for forgiveness.

Worry about committing the unpardonable sin is evidence you haven’t committed it.

Read: Mark 3:31–35. Jesus opened this relationship to all people.The types of people who can have a relationship with him are those who listen, learn, believe, and follow. We are not saved into facts or rules or a system of worship or a cult of followers, we are saved into a family.

Jesus’ true family are those who hear and obey his words.


Lord of the Sabbath

Read Mark 2:18-22.
Jesus is the new cloth and the new wine. He is not an attachment, addition, or appendage to the status quo. He cannot be integrated into or contained by preexisting systems of religion.

Jesus isn’t offering you a religious patch but a whole new spiritual paradigm.

He came to introduce the new, not to patch up the old.
Question: What ways have you made Jesus a patch?
Read Mark 2:23-27.
The Sabbath proclaimed that God is Lord of creation and time. It was instituted upon the completion of the creation of the world. God created over six days and rested on the seventh. It was designed to be a day of rest and worship.
Years later, Moses would receive the Ten Commandments from God on Mt. Sinai. The fourth commandment had to do with the Sabbath day. See Exodus 20:8-11.
As Lord of the Sabbath, He determines what is lawful and unlawful on the Sabbath day. When Jesus says, “I am the Lord of the Sabbath,” Jesus means that he is the Sabbath. See Matthew 11:28-30.
On the cross at the end of his great act of redemption Jesus said, “It is finished”—and we can rest. If you rely on Jesus’s finished work, you know that God is satisfied with you.

A relationship with the Lord of the Sabbath gives us rest from religion forever.

As Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus releases us from legalistic pressure and frees us to joyful obedience. The joyful obedience of Jesus to his Father’s plan sets up the context for the next conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees.
Read Mark 3:1-6.

The Pharisees were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus — he was a threat that needed to be shutdown. Healing, they argued, was practicing medicine, and a person could not practice his or her profession on the Sabbath.
So they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. There is a danger in watching Jesus closely without knowing him personally. Knowing about Jesus is not the same as knowing Jesus.
What did these religious leaders have to lose if Jesus healed this man? Jesus’ ministry of compassion and power, grace and truth, exposed the powerlessness of their legalistic system of religion. It also challenged the power play these religious men held over the people.

You can believe that you are all about God and yet miss what God is all about.

God is a God of people, not of rules. The best time to reach out to someone is when he or she needs help. God’s law for the Sabbath was never meant to keep people in bondage. The Sabbath, while an important day given to God’s people as a day of rest and worship, was also a day to be merciful and kind to those in need.

Jesus shows that human need is more important than ritual observance.

See Matthew 12:7–8.
The gospel of Christ must maintain the central place of your life and faith, otherwise you will substitute it with a shallow, self righteousness.