“He looked around at them in anger…
deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts…”
Mark 3:5 (NIV)
I sat in the coffee shop with the man and listened to his sorry recitation of a life deeply wounded by the selfish actions of another member of his family. My heart went out to him as it was very obvious that he had been deeply affected by the other person’s wrong behaviour.
As I listened and sipped my coffee, I tried to sort through the pain of my friend and figure out what was anger and what was sorrow over what had happened. It was hard for me to tell just where he was at, but I was most concerned and sought to help relieve some of the hostility I heard in his voice.
Our Lord Jesus found Himself in a situation that caused Him anger and grief. We can read the context of our verse for today in Mark 3:1-6. The scene is of Jesus entering a synagogue on the Sabbath day. A man attended there whose hand was shrivelled.
Jesus’ enemies watched Him carefully to see if He would heal the man on the Sabbath. To their way of thinking no doctor could treat a patient on the Sabbath unless the person would die that very day if they refrained. How to keep the Sabbath was a “hot issue” in Jesus’ time and people were taught so many rules about how to keep the command that said “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” that they found it impossible to conform.
For example it was hotly debated whether or not a person should eat an egg lain by a hen on the Sabbath as the hen had laboured on the Sabbath to produce it. All unnecessary work on the Sabbath was considered sin.
Jesus challenged His enemies that day by asking the man to step forward so all could see what was to happen. Then He asked them if it was lawful to do good or evil on the Sabbath and they kept silent. It was then that Mark tells us that Jesus gave a momentary look of anger and went on being grieved at heart for their stubborn hearts that looked on someone who suffered as lower than an animal. Jesus showed compassion to the man and immediately healed him.
In Matthew’s account of this incident Matthew 12:9-14, we read that Jesus reminded them that they would pull their sheep out of a pit on the Sabbath so why not relieve the suffering of this man on the Sabbath.
Perhaps you have remained angry with someone for the pain and suffering they have caused you in life. This is not Jesus’ way. Jesus was only angry for a moment but His grief over their hostility toward Him lingered on for a long time. Perhaps you need to revisit your attitude toward the one who has hurt you and consider if you have allowed anger to linger. If you have, you are hurting yourself as it easily becomes a poison in your heart.
Sorrow for the hurt inflicted on you may remain but ask the Lord to remove the anger if it stays with you. To allow it to remain will endanger your relationship to your Creator and make you a bitter, unattractive person. Jesus waits to show you how to handle the pain others wrongly inflict on you. Come to Him for help and come today.