After the arrival of Jesus in chapter 1 of Mark’s Gospel, there is the calling of man to follow Christ, who were transformed by the saving power of Christ. The evidence of true discipleship is in the change that takes place in virtually every facet of a person’s life. Such a change takes place over time to be sure, but it can be observed right from the beginning of their walk with Jesus. The last part of chapter 1 is the story of a leper who believed in Jesus for the healing of his body and acceptance by men but who fell woefully short of saving faith.
In chapter 2 Jesus is repeatedly questioned about His authority, as in the case of forgiving sins, healing the sick, and casting out demons. The religious leaders became jealous about the people who followed Jesus and fearful that they would lose their place as rulers. Jesus, however, proclaimed Himself to be Lord, as in the case of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28).
Chapter 3 begins with Jesus entering the Synagogue, healing a man with a withered hand, and then pronouncing that it is best to do good on the Sabbath. The leaders, we are told (in the Greek), were spying on Jesus to accuse Him (Mark 3:2). Strikingly, we are told that Jesus looked around with both anger and grief because of the hardness of their hearts. Jesus healed the man, and his remarks made it impossible to be accused by the leaders before the people. As a result the leaders joined forces with the Herodians (men higher in authority) and sought to kill Jesus.
In contrast to the obvious hatred of the religious leaders is the hope that Jesus gave to the crowds. Such great crowds followed Jesus that it became necessary for Him to go out on a boat to keep from being crushed by them (3:9). But on the heels of such popularity the experts of the law accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan (3:22). On the one side of Jesus were jealous and hateful religious leaders, on the other were crowds of people that looked to get something from Him without any regard for their eternal soul. Jesus made clear the nature of those who truly belong to Him when He declared that those most closely related to Him also obey Him. “For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35)
The third group of people in chapter 3 are those whom Jesus called to Himself, taught, and transformed. These three groups of people are all through the Gospel of Mark and the New Testament. It is important when reading the Bible, and relating to people from day to day that we are conscious of these three general categories. Jesus certainly was. We are not to judge as if we stand in the place of God, we simply do not want to go through life ignorantly and without good discernment. Ignorance can only lead to bad decisions; the devil would have us ignorant, God desires that we walk in the light.
It takes good discernment to choose a healthy church, a godly spouse, or even a trustworthy friend. Any fool can trust anyone, but it takes a wise man to to trust the godly. “Now when He (Jesus) was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men.” (John 2:23, 24)
Another reason to have good discernment is so that we can help others. It becomes very difficult to help others when we do not properly understand their needs, which are tightly woven into who they are. If you are a Christian, do not take the stance that you cannot judge because you are not God, the true Christian is given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), which does not mean we know it all, but it does mean we are able to observe external fruit and help others accordingly. The true Christian cares enough about people to study them, pray, and with godly discernment serve them best.