Do you have a Stubbirn or a Soft Heart?

Scripture: Mark 3:5, ‘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.’

 

Observations: Mark tells a number of stories about Jesus doing things that upset the Pharisees. In chapter 2 he heals a paralytic and forgives his sin (2:1-12), he calls Levi a Tax Collector (v13-17), he explains why his disciples don’t fast (v18-22), and how he is the Lord of the Sabbath (v23-28). And now he heals a man with a shriveled hand on the Sabbath (3:1-6). What ‘deeply distressed’ Jesus was the ‘stubborn hearts’ of the Pharisees. They put the religious laws before people. Obeying the law was more important than doing good and saving life. And they refused to budge in their opinion, they were so convinced it was right. Jesus on the other hand, understood God’s character, and God’s desire to do good and show his love for people, and so, even though it was the Sabbath, Jesus healed the man with the shriveled hand.

 

Application: Do we get deeply distressed by people’s stubborn hearts? Do we get deeply distressed by our own stubborn hearts? Do we put religious expectations before people? I often find myself getting upset when people don’t do what I think they should do, but I don’t often stop and ask how Jesus would respond in those situations. Rather than conform to their ideals, Jesus does what he knows to be right in God’s sight. In love he helps someone in need, but in love he also tries and teaches the Pharisees something of God’s heart for people (even though the message is lost on them, v6).

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I ask that You soften my heart, that I might see things, especially people, from Your perspective. Lord, help me to obey the law of love over all other laws, so that in all that I do I will honour You. Help me not to conform to the thinking of this world, but help me put people first. Give me wisdom to know what to do and say so that in all things I will reflect Your heart. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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