Mark 3:2 “And they were watching Him to see if He would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.”

Observation: Mark here related a time when Christ entered the synagogue and healed a man with a withered hand. To this, the leaders responded by leaving the service so they could conspire to kill Jesus.

Application: What motivated these leaders? Why in heaven’s name should their response be to want to kill one so good? And what of the people? The passage is silent as to the specific response of the congregation who witnessed the miracle, but we see immediately afterward that people flocked from all the surrounding region to be close to Jesus.

Surely from this we can infer that the response at the 11:00 service had been approving. Had they burst forth in applause or filled the room with raucous shouts of praise? Had they leapt from their pews and rushed forward to stroke the once-withered hand, weeping over strong, supple flesh that reflected the goodness of God? Surely the decorum of the service was interrupted by the astonished joy of the people. Their hearts hungered for more as they recognized true life manifest in their presence. God had invaded His house, and in His compassion He had healed.

Sadly, though, the response of the leaders was determination to reassert their own control, even if doing so meant killing Jesus. This leads me to consider how we might react if such a thing were to occur in our midst today. How would leadership respond? Tragically, I must admit that too many of our services are so tightly choreographed that a man with a withered hand would rarely be noticed, and would never, ever, be brought to the front for prayer.

Even more personally, how does this apply to me? Am I not the temple of the Holy Spirit? Am I someone to whom a man with a withered hand would appeal?  Is there within me enough of Christ that people with profound needs are attracted to me in the expectation that healing might flow into their places of pain? If I am indeed the peculiar people God declares me to be, shouldn’t the decorum of my life be interruptible, so ordered by Him that an outflow of His love and power be manifest at all times? If that isn’t happening, can I honestly be said to be a Christ-follower?

Prayer: Lord God, I confess how easily I conform to the daily, regular rhythms of life to such an extent that You cannot invade, let alone overflow to others.  Forgive me. Interrupt me, Lord. Interrupt my work. Interrupt all the places of my life where dull routine substitutes for life, where words supplant deeds, where tradition stifles Your presence. Let me not be satisfied until I can see Your face moment by moment and consistently reflect You to others.