Again he 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 ESV)
Welcome back for day three of our Advent Celebration, guys! If you have been joining us every day so far, thank you so much. If not, check out all our previous 15 Days of Advent posts and videos.
Man, Mark is jam-packed with tidbits of Jesus’ life. Over and over again we see His character and His kindness. We also see some parts of Jesus that may confuse us.
He only chooses to heal some. He continually tells people to keep quiet about who He is. After all, is this not far different than the Jesus we know?
Or is it only different from the Jesus we choose to know?
I always think about that iconic prayer to “sweet baby Jesus” around this time of year. As silly as that scene is, I sometimes catch myself focusing on the Jesus who I feel the most comfortable with. The Jesus who hasn’t yet disappointed my flesh.
The Pharisees to Discredit Jesus
In the passage above, the Pharisees had their eyes on Jesus, waiting for him to do some kind of work on the Sabbath Day–a rule they had taken out of context. They wanted to find something–anything–to discredit His authority. They wanted to take Him off of His throne.
Jesus saw their staring eyes and their hardened hearts.
That did not stop Him.
Moreover, He knew that it would be this religious group that would eventually accuse Him to His execution. Yet His plan remained, and it was so much better than anything you or I could have imagined.
You and I do the Same
The sad part is that when we look at what the Pharisees were doing, looking for a way for Jesus to be wrong, we aren’t looking too far past our own character.
Though we may have no problem with Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath, it isn’t hard to look into the words of Scripture or even into our own lives and say, Lord, what you did isn’t right.
After all, in only the next few verses, Jesus only took some to heal–not everyone. Do we know why? No. Will we ever know why? Probably not.
We spend time asking Him why He only chooses to heal some. Why He let the Israelites question Him so. Why He allowed Paul to suffer from the thorn in His side for so long.
Then, to make ourselves feel better about the way we see Him, we point our finger and say, “I don’t like that part of You.” And the whole time He is looking at us, grieved by our hard hearts, then looking into the plan He has. He knows full well that this plan that has been set up before He first spoke “Let there be…” is far better than our wildest imaginations.
So this Christmas when we find it so easy to look only at sweet baby Jesus we have made up in our minds, let us instead gaze into the character of the Son of God who is the creator and sustainer of all things. He is good. He is wise. His way is better.
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Thanks so much for continuing to join us day after day in this advent season! We would love for you to share this series with your friends and family and join in the discussion about who Jesus is and how He is working in your life.
Be sure to watch the video below and let us know how God spoke to you through His Word in Mark 3. Catch you guys tomorrow!