Mark 3:1-6 1Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” 4Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. 5He 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. 6Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
It is difficult to find words to describe everything contained in these few verses. So many big things happen. Jesus had compassion on a crippled man and does a wonderful miracle. Jesus not only discerned the stubborn hearts of the Pharisees, he was angry with them. The Pharisees were unable to see their own stubbornness and unbelief. In the face of the miraculous, they were blind and deceived. I think this is one of the most frightening things in the scriptures. They saw Jesus and wanted to kill Him.
How could anyone see such a wonderful miracle and not be moved and humbled by it? These religious leaders believed in God, yet the condition of their hearts made them blind to God right in front of them. They were witnessing a demonstration of the power of God unlike any seen in the history of mankind. Yet they failed to see Immanuel, (God with us) in their midst.
Surely they too had family or friends who were sick, crippled or in bondage. Jesus was doing miracles everywhere. Why didn’t they go and get them and bring them to Jesus? Instead, the Pharisees become so angry that they wanted to kill Jesus – because He did the miracle on the Sabbath. How could these men not recognize the wonder they were beholding? They clung to arguments rather than recognizing the Son of God – right in front of them.
I think of Isaiah 6:9, 10 9 He said, “Go and tell this people:
“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
10 Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull
and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”
We must recognize that the same spiritual deafness and blindness can happen to us. We can miss God working in our lives and right in front of us through the ‘callousing’ of our hearts.