Theme of the Week: Following Christ’s Example
Bible Verse: 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. Mark 3:5
Scripture Reading: Mark 3:1-6
As far as the Pharisees were concerned, the fact that Jesus was performing miracles on the Sabbath was nothing less than a crime against the religious establishment. But all Jesus wanted to do was to restore the Sabbath to what God had intended it to be: a day of rest, a holy day set aside for worship.
But what does that mean in practical terms? Should no work at all be done on the Sabbath? Where do we draw the line? And who decides? The religious leaders took up the challenge – and came up with thirty-nine actions that were strictly forbidden on the Sabbath. They went into great detail as to what was permissible and what was not. And so what God had intended as a day of spiritual and physical refreshment had become a crushing burden. And since they had decreed it was forbidden to heal someone on the Sabbath whose life was not in danger, they decided that Jesus had to be stopped.
Jesus is not intimidated. Instead, he makes a very public display of healing a man with a withered hand. We would expect him to do that. But what we might not expect is his mood: he’s angry. Really? That sure doesn’t sound like our stereotypical Jesus, who cuddles little children and loves everyone.
But Mark is quick to point out the source of Jesus’ anger: he is “deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts.” He is grieved by their indifference, their lack of compassion, that they could be so fixated on defending their own rules and regulations that they had become unaware of the suffering all around them; they couldn’t see that their legalism was only making things worse. In a word, what angered and distressed Jesus so much was their sin.
So, the fact that Jesus got angry is not permission for us to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation. James 1:19 tells us we ought to be “slow to become angry.” But there are times when anger is justified – as long as what angers us are those things that anger God, such as oppression, injustice, abuse, violence, destruction, and on and on.
Sometimes it’s okay to get angry. In fact, if we can look at all the evil going on in the world and not get angry, then there is something deeply wrong with us.
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