Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Daily - 1/21/09

Mark 3:1-6 (today’s gospel)

1 Again he entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand.

2 They watched him closely to see if he would cure him on the sabbath so that they might accuse him.

3 He said to the man with the withered hand, "Come up here before us."

4 Then he said to them, "Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?" But they remained silent.

5 Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out and his hand was restored.

6 The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

Background: At the end of Mark 2, the disciples picked a few ears of corn on the sabbath, so that they could eat. The Pharisees present objected to this, because it was their belief that this constituted work and therefore was forbidden. This is a common objection of theirs. The discussion concluded with Christ saying that the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. Immediately after that, they enter into the synagogue, and clearly there is tension. The Pharisees are waiting to trap him.

Note Christ’s response to their test (v5) – he is angry, and he grieves at their hardness of heart.

I have a friend who says that we continue to place veils between us and Christ, and I think that’s a great image. In the case of the Pharisees, the veil was so dark and their hearts were so hard that they couldn’t/wouldn’t see what was right in front of them. They are so focused on their interpretation of the sabbath that they fail to see that God’s work is being done before their very eyes.

But I do this too. It is so easy to get caught up in the world, on a daily or even hourly basis. Far too many times I fail to do what God wants, because I’ve got some reason or another why I can’t. When I step back and think about it, I can see that in those cases I put the world in front of God. I don’t necessarily want to, but I do. Read Romans 7 for more on that. J

In reading this today, I’m struck by Christ’s response to the Pharisees. Anger. Grief at their hardness of heart. Does this apply to me when I am “Pharisitical” in my actions? I don’t want to get obsessed with the thought of Christ being angry at me, but I can definitely see him grieving at my hardness of heart at times. Anger … I don’t want to test it.