I had to smile when I read the first set of verses in Mark chapter 3. The anointed one entered into the synagogue and encountered a man with a withered hand. The religious rulers and leaders were waiting to see what the anointed one would do because it was the Sabbath day. Everyone knew that ‘working’ on the Sabbath day was a ‘no no,’ even worthy of death.
The anointed one asked, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath day, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill?” The rulers were silent.
The anointed one looked around with anger. The Scripture says he was grieved due to the hardness/blindness of their hearts. Did he think to himself, "What would make someone so calloused to not care about a unfortunate man? Why would a community of people be more concerned about a rule rather than the health and well being of one of their acquaintances?"
Imagine the suffering of the man who didn’t measure up: The taunts he heard, the ridicule from the crowd The blind man story in John 9 tells how the religious believed that someone’s sin caused the deformity. Maybe some of them yelled, “Sinner,” at the deformed man.
Can you imagine the moment when the anointed one said to man with the withered hand, “Stretch forth your hand!” The anointed one knew that his act of compassion would bring about judgment from the leaders. He acted in mercy anyway. The man’s hand was restored to wholeness.
Most people would rejoice, would they not? “Whoo Hoo. An amazing miracle just happened at the synagogue!!” But these law-abiding leaders were steaming mad. They went behind closed doors with other conspirators devising ways to destroy the anointed one. Not just get rid of, but destroy. Destroy is a powerful word. It means to demolish, to ruin, to abolish, or end something, to defeat in a crushing way. They wanted to destroy someone who broke the rules they cherished. They were disconnected from all that the anointed one offered… unconditional love and mercy, wisdom and understanding, grace and peace to all those who sit in darkness.
The religious rulers didn’t think they were in darkness, nor did they see themselves as blind. But the anointed one could see their hearts and called them “blind guides,” “hypocrites,” saying to them, “Woe to you,” in Matthew 23.
The anointed one walked away from them. He wasn’t going to stick around this crowd. He wasn’t welcome, and he also knew they didn’t have ears to hear or eyes to see him for who he was/is - the chosen anointed one, the light of the world. Because of their own self righteousness, they missed an Amazing Gift that has blessed this planet. He walked away from them. I know that there were many periods of my life that the anointed one would have walked away from me, too, as my heart has been hard and my ears closed. Thankfully, through life circumstances, consequences and grace, I've softened and am a better listener. :)
He withdrew with his disciples as they celebrated the miracle. The disciples most likely asking Him … “How do you heal like that, anointed one? So awesome!” He and his friends retreated to somewhere safe and did the work that his Father, YHVH called him to do. He healed the sick, released captives, and fed the poor.
This is the message of YHVH’s heart. Love. Restoration. Wholeness. Healing. Peace. Compassion. Tenderness. Opposition of the oppressors.
The anointed one came not to condemn the world, but to save it.
The anointed one demonstrated the essence of the New Covenant. Mercy and love triumphs over any law or rule. Due to the cross, resurrection, ascension, and filling of the temple (corporate body of believers) with YHVH's Spirit, the Old Covenant law vanished, making way for the New Covenant law of love to reign forever in our hearts. Amen.
(This article was originally published on 3/20/19).