HARD HEARTED OR OPEN MINDED?

MUSINGS – September 27 2018

HARD HEARTED OR OPEN MINDED?

Mark 3:1-6
Jesus went into a synagogue again. A man who had a paralyzed hand was there. The people were watching Jesus closely. They wanted to see whether he would heal the man on the day of worship so that they could accuse him of doing something wrong. So he told the man with the paralyzed hand, “Stand in the center of the synagogue.” Then he asked them, “Is it right to do good or to do evil on the day of worship, to give a person back his health or to let him die?” But they were silent. Jesus was angry as he looked around at them. He was deeply hurt because their minds were closed. Then he told the man, “Hold out your hand.” The man held it out, and his hand became normal again. The Pharisees left, and with Herod’s followers they immediately plotted to kill Jesus.”

In yesterday’s MUSINGS I talked about the strictness of traditions for the Sabbath. Here is one more example, as I understand it: If you had mixed vegetables or fruit on your plate and you didn’t like one of the items in the mix, you could not remove the offensive item from the plate. This would be considered winnowing, selecting, or sifting which are forbidden. You could, however, eat the other items and leave the offensive item on the plate as long as you did not touch it with an eating utensil. You can remove the good from the bad but not the bad from the good.

I mention this restriction because, in an odd way, it showed the mind frame of the people in the synagogue. Jesus asked, “Is it right to do good or to do evil on the day of worship?” In their thinking, when Jesus healed, he was removing the bad from the good which was forbidden.

He was deeply hurt because their minds were closed.” Other translation say, he was “grieved for the hardness of their heart,” He had appealed to their sense of right and wrong. He asked if it was right to do good or evil, to heal or let him die. Their traditions, that had developed around the law of Moses, were more important than mercy and compassion. In the parable of Good Samaritan* he addresses this same hard hearted closed minded adherence to man made precepts

Jesus, in his mercy, healed the man. As I said yesterday, in their minds he had broken a law which demanded capital punishment.

Jesus challenged their understanding of scripture, their understanding of the law, their understanding of God’s will. He still does. Have we become closed minded or hard hearted? Do we still seek answers from the word of God? Are we open to what the Spirit is saying to us? Or have we already decided on our own what is right and what is wrong?

*Luke 10:25-37

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All content (except quotations) © 2018 Thomas E. Williams

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