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Unlimited: Anger on the Sabbath

Oct 27, 2020 309

Unlimited: Anger on the Sabbath

Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shrivelled hand was there. 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. Jesus said to the man with the shrivelled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” 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.

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. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus (Mark 3:1–6, NIV).

The religious leaders confront Jesus about how he observed the Sabbath day. In response, Jesus shockingly claimed that he was the Lord of the Sabbath. Now, their disagreement about the purpose of the Sabbath is about to escalate further.

This was a set-up. They were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus and condemn him, because in their eyes, it was wrong to heal someone on the Sabbath.

These religious leaders lacked compassion and mercy for the poor man with the shrivelled hand. They were only using him. They were happy for the man to continue suffering for the sake of proving a religious point.

Jesus is heroic in his response. He tells the man to stand up in front, where everyone can see him. Then he directly challenges the people there to confront their horrific hypocrisy.

When Jesus asked this question, everyone remained silent. There was no mercy in their hearts. While everyone was silent, Jesus looked all the way around to everyone in the synagogue with anger on his face.

Then told the man to hold out his hand, where everyone could see it, and he healed him.

This is the first time that Mark tells us that Jesus was angry. The other gospel writers never mention Jesus being angry. Mark always highlights Jesus’ emotions and his compassionate humanity. But Mark only ever shows Jesus as being angry when injustice and abuse occurs against the defenceless.

– Eliezer Gonzalez

Eli’s Reflection: Take a moment to think about the things that make you angry. How do those things compare with the things that caused Jesus to show his anger? Does your heart show mercy or judgement?

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