Journal Mk 3 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Again he (Jesus) entered the synagogue and a man was there with a withered hand.
And they (the Pharisees) watched Jesus to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath (so they might accuse him).
And (Jesus) said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to (the Pharisees), “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or…. to do harm; to save life, or….to kill?” But they were silent.
And (Jesus) looked around at them WITH ANGER, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man: “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched in out and his hand was restored.” Mark 3:1-5
Observation: This is a significant story, like most all the stories of the Gospels are. But what do I think of it? Am I thinking “those dumb Pharisees” or am I thinking “Is that how I react?”
Analysis: Most folks don’t like to think of Jesus demonstrating anger—or any “foul” reactions at all. After all, Jesus is “love”, right? That means He is always…. what?
To read the Scriptures is to shift my perception of the nature of the Trinity as appropriate. Because the Triune God is so many things (Communicable and Incommunicable—suggestion: dive into a good systematic theology book this year. Recommended: Bible Doctrine, ed. Wayne Grudem), poor mortal man like I am must think about God as He presents himself.
Here, Jesus is schooling the group of Pharisees in what is right and what is wrong. Here, He is Headmaster and Teacher—think about him as a Vocational instructor.
There is a right way and there is a wrong way to do stuff; and a wrong way is to not do anything. As a shop instructor would teach “measure twice, cut once”, so Jesus is teaching, “Are you to do good, or to withhold?” “If you see something that needs fixing (like a lame guy), are you to wonder whether it is ok to do that, or not?
Vocational, as it applies in this posting to myself, is not being a Professional in the sense of being a pastor or some such, I am referencing being a vocational disciple.
Being a Christian Disciple is not like having a full-time job (or many part-time jobs). It is not even what I do after my workday is over. It is certainly not what I become on Sundays and Wednesdays.
Being a disciple is learning, training, practicing all those things that the Bible wants me to learn and to be. It can be structured (like in a classroom), or unstructured (like learning woodcraft or fieldcraft).
Maybe Jesus was angry and grieved because of the thought, “Have not learned anything from my Father? Have you cloaked His Word under your hardheartedness and traditions … and failed to respond to my Spirit?”
Writing this to me, the face in my mirror…
Prayer: Lord, if there is one area I am released to be angry about, it is concerning me and my performance. It is about putting into practice that stuff I know and have learned from You? It is getting it out of my head and putting it into exercise.
Learning to be a disciple is multifaceted: I don’t tackle everything you send my way with the same hammer. Sometimes I pound, sometimes I tap, sometimes I must wait to see the image in the stone before proceeding. All the time, I need to pursue being a Trained Disciple.