To read the texts click on the texts :1Sam 17:32-33,37,40-51; Mk 3:1-6
The Gospel text of today concerns a Sabbath controversy. Though Mark does not specify at the beginning of this episode who it was that was watching Jesus for a reason to accuse him, at the end of the episode they are named as Pharisees and Herodians. While Pharisees had no political authority at the time of Jesus, they were influential. Herodians were a group of wealthy people who were partisans of Herod Antipas.
It is important to note that Jesus does
nothing to break the Sabbath rest, but his question is the reason for the
hostility. The response to Jesus' question is silence which here may be
interpreted as an indication of the hostility of his opponents and of their
intention to destroy him. Anyone who truly cares about the law will agree with
Jesus and rejoice that a man has been made whole again. Though the man in this
case is not in any way near death, Jesus adds to the second part of his
question the words "to save life or to kill?" This seems to be Mark's
way of anticipating the intentions of Jesus' opponents. The point he seems to
be making is that they object to someone being made whole on the Sabbath
because they are concerned about the law, yet on the same Sabbath, they will
not hesitate to plot the destruction of someone else. The contrast between their
words and their deeds is strongly brought out.