Jesus entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him.
And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?“ But they were silent.
And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. (Mark 3:1-6)
This passage brought tears to my eyes this morning.
When Jesus came upon a man with a withered hand, he asked them this question. This obvious question: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill? They knew the answer. They knew what the truth was. OF COURSE it’s lawful to do good on the Sabbath. OF COURSE it’s lawful to save life. No one in their right mind would say otherwise.
Yet they didn’t say a word.
They sat in silence hating him all the more. Immediately after they left, they plotted how they could destroy Jesus.
This man who only wants good. Whose only desire is to heal and to save. This man who is grieving because they just don’t get it.
They don’t understand because they’re too wrapped up in all their rules and procedures. They’re so blind that they forget how to show love. They forget about doing good and saving lives.
They forget that Love speaks Truth. Love is not silent.
They forget that this is what it’s all about. It’s not about rules and procedures or about sticking to the cultural norm. Christianity, in fact, often calls for quite the opposite. Truth calls us to love across borders even when it’s uncomfortable. It calls us to selflessly do good even when it may not be on our to do list for the day.
Jesus is angry at them, but he also grieves for them. He grieves for them as they’re planning to destroy them.
Two takeaways I get from this:
One, may we not get so wrapped up in our rules and way of doing life that we forget to love. May we not be so blind that we don’t see the real live people in front of us who are made in the image of God who need Life and Love and Truth. May we not be so wrapped up in ourselves that we don’t share that with them. Don’t be silent when you know the Truth.
Two, may we, like Jesus, go about doing good. Even when it’s hard. Even when those who are staring at us don’t get it. Even when everyone around us hates us. Still be about the kingdom of God. And for those who do hate us, still share Love with them and grieve for them.
Teach us your ways, Lord. Help us to be more like you and to live our lives not for ourselves, but for your kingdom. Amen.