Today’s reading of Mark 3 was sobering for me. This chapter gives a chilling picture of how far our sinful nature can take us when we believe we are justified. Fear – whether of losing power or position, can be a strong motivator.
The religious rulers and leaders of the day should have recognized Jesus. They knew the scriptures, they knew the prophecy surrounding the coming of Messiah, and they were entrusted with the spiritual direction of the community. They should have known Him, but they didn’t. When a human agenda takes a higher position than God’s agenda, pain and suffering are sure to follow.
Giving anything but emergency medical care on the Sabbath was strictly prohibited. A withered hand was not an emergency, so in the eyes of the religious leaders, it was work and work was not allowed. Jesus’ enemies (the religious leaders) didn’t just stumble upon Jesus doing this, they were watching and waiting for it:
1Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand. 2 Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.
Planning and strategy were involved. How interesting that the Pharisees saw the good deed of restoring a man’s hand to functionality as work and therefore sin, but thought nothing of plotting murder on the Sabbath:
6 At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus.
When our own agenda becomes the priority over everything else, we miss seeing Jesus in what’s happening around us. When we decide how things should be and determine that anything outside that is not “right”, we are often playing into the hands of the enemy who wants to do all he can to cause division and chaos.
This first section of Mark 3 has given me a lot to prayerfully consider. Am I missing the work of God around me because I’m so convinced that my agenda is the only right one? Does that cause me to cut off part of the family of God because we don’t see eye to eye? Do I fail to see the bigger picture of what God is up to because it doesn’t come packaged the way I believe it should? I don’t want to miss a second of Jesus in my life, so I’m asking God to remove my blinders, remove my desires and agenda and give me eyes to see what He sees.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach