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 exposes the evil of their hearts with a vivid contrast between them and the friends of the paralyzed man in the account beginning at verse 3. Notice that neither the Pharisees nor the paralytic and his friends spoke a word to Jesus. But Jesus knew what was in their hearts.
The paralytic’s friends were unable to get to Jesus; there were too many people blocking their path. But these men did not give up because of the difficulties; they did not say, “Well, after all, boys, we can’t do anything else. There’s no use trying to get by that crowd.” These men were not cowards. A coward will say, “We cannot,” but faith says, “We must!” They developed what Maclaren calls a “sanctifying ingenuity” (The Gospel of St. Mark, p. 50) to overcome the difficulties.
We all have a tremendous obligation to bring our needy loved ones into the presence of Jesus. There are difficulties, to be sure, but what is the purpose of difficulties? To test our faith and thereby increase it. When we see barriers, as these men did, we should not say, “Evidently this is not the Lord’s will.” We must reject the pietistic, mystical way of folding our hands and saying, “Well, the Holy Spirit knows what He’s doing.” The Holy Spirit expects us to get up and go!
What obligation do we have to our loved ones? Why is this our obligation?
What does it mean that “The Holy Spirit expects us to get up and go”?
How did Jesus expose the Pharisees hearts?
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