[Jesus] 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. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. (Mark 3:5–6, NIV)
Today, we’re in chapter 3 of our brief survey of the book of Mark. From the opening chapter, Mark paints a picture of Jesus as the Suffering Servant. Wherever Jesus goes, he brings new life to people in need. But with each act of service, he runs the risk of getting himself in trouble with the religious elite.
What strikes me throughout these chapters is how emotional Jesus gets. Jesus is not a stoic figure, going through life like the Terminator. Jesus drips with humanity. Sometimes he gets overwhelmed. He may even be the kind of person we would chastise for “wearing his heart on his sleeve.”
In the first chapter, Jesus is moved by the injustice of a man living with leprosy. In chapter 2, he is touched by the commitment of four friends who carry their paralyzed friend to him. After healing the man, the Pharisees give Jesus some major side-eye. Throughout the rest of this chapter, the Pharisees follow Jesus around and heckle him. They accuse him of dining with sinners, not fasting, and working on the Sabbath. With each accusation, Jesus has a response that leaves them speechless.
By the time chapter 3 rolls around, they decide to take drastic measures. These religious leaders attempt to use a disabled man to trap Jesus. The man had a shriveled hand; it may have been the early stages of leprosy, or a disability he was born with. Either way, it made him an outcast in town. People probably thought God was punishing him for his sin.