Mark 3: 1-6, “Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 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. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.”
The focus of this devotion today is on the 5th verse, “He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts…” (NIV)
Other translations: “And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart...” (ESV)
“He looked them in the eye, one after another, angry now, furious at their hard-nosed religion” (Mes)
The question is why was he angry?
The Pharisees are ensnared by their own legalism. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, pushes them to see differently. He asks, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?”
But they remained SILENT…
I can just imagine Jesus, standing in front of them, His eyes meeting each face. His hand outstretched as He goes around the room, “Good or Evil?”
Like most hypocrites – and we all are at times – the Pharisees do not want to respond because they have already made up their minds. Their hearts have already hardened. Their agendas are not based in truth but in rebellion. Their thoughts of right and wrong are above God. If we read between the lines, the Pharisees were expecting Jesus to heal the man with a shriveled hand. Doesn’t sound like people who doubt His supreme existence as God, now does it? If you expect something then you believe it will happen.
The bottom line? They knew about Jesus but they didn’t know Him.
Ironically, the Pharisees had more faith than some of us do. Why? Because, they knew He would heal this man and they watched Him closely to see if He would do it on the Sabbath.
Jesus’ anger was righteous anger. Most of us get angry because we are hurt or injured – something we value is being threatened. Our anger is rarely equated to the anger Jesus felt. Jesus was angry because this was an opportunity for the Pharisees to change. It was a moment when they could grasp and admit the truth they already knew, but their hearts were too hardened to do so.
What about you? Is your heart hardened to the truth of Jesus? Are you set in your stubborn ways because things need to be done your way – not God’s way? Are you silent because you know Jesus is right but you are too hard-nosed to admit it?
Today, talk to God. Ask Him to give you clarity about what brings Him honor in your life and in the lives of others. Look for the good in situations and avoid the evil. Determine what saves lives and what destroys.
Stretch out your hand and allow Him to bring you complete restoration.