Response to Evil; June 1, 2018

Mark 3:5 He looked round 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.

Two things stand out to me in this verse, one about Jesus and the other about the man who was healed. In the first place, this says Jesus got angry. The other, more famous instance of that was His response to those who were more interested in making money than in allowing Gentiles to have a place to pray to Yahweh. (John 2:13-17) Here, too, His anger is at those who are more interested in keeping their grip on power than meeting the needs of those supposedly in their care. It was deeply distressing to Him, which is something we tend to overlook. The action He took, however, was not to attack those who were in the wrong, but to meet the need that they had ignored. That leads us to the man who was healed. Anyone who has been around stroke victims has no problem picturing what it means when it says he had a “shriveled hand.” In that condition, what Jesus told him to do was actually impossible. Stretching it out was precisely what he couldn’t do. However, in obedience to Jesus, he attempted it, and as he did so, full motion and function were restored. Since I teach at Nagasaki Rehabilitation College, I’d call that “instant physical therapy!” A major issue for those who need PT is in getting them to attempt that which is difficult, or perhaps even painful. That’s why those who really apply themselves are so inspiring. In this case, we have no idea whether the act of lifting his arm and stretching out his had was painful, but it might have been. Regardless, he acted in obedience because Jesus had said to do it, and his faith was magnificently rewarded.

Both of these factors speak to me. I too am deeply distressed as I learn about people who stubbornly cling to political power instead of seeking to fulfill their commission and meet the needs of those around them. The resistance of the swamp to being drained can be pretty intense! I am not to allow my distress to tear me down, but rather let it move me to effective prayer to tear down the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8, 2 Corinthians 10:4) From the standpoint of the man who was healed, I am to be obedient to whatever the Lord tells me to do, even if it seems impossible or is painful in the doing. I’ve got to believe Him and listen to Him more than I listen to the world, the devil, or even my own flesh. I’ve watched painful rehab, and I’ve got to be willing to go through it myself. God’s plans are always good and the devil’s are never good, so I’ve got to remember that and act accordingly.

Father, sometimes I feel drained after reading and/or watching the news over the Internet. The blindness and evil expressed can be overwhelming. Help me remember always that He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4) Help me always do as You direct, whether that is comfortable at the moment or not. Help me indeed stretch out to be and do what You desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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