Opposition; August 2, 2020

Mark 3:5-6 He 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.

Reading this, recent congressional hearings in the US immediately came to mind. This is of course another answer to the question of whether Jesus ever got angry, but it’s important to note just what made Him angry. That trigger was obviously some people’s preference for their own rules and political power, if you will, over the good of someone who was obviously in need. That attitude has been distressingly on display a great deal in recent days and weeks. The response of Jesus was to work righteousness, healing the man in need, but the response of those who opposed Him was to plot His death. (The Japanese uses the interesting expression of, “take him away by burial.”) That sort of illogical rage is very much on display these days. Donald Trump is certainly no Jesus, but the opposition to him, both who is doing it and how they are doing it, makes me cheer him on more and more. Fortunately he has gathered some excellent people around him, and they too face the hatred of those in opposition. The Attorney General recently acquitted himself very well indeed in the face of illogical attacks. That’s not to say at all that everything this administration does is correct, but it is to say that those who seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness need to be praying earnestly that all the plans of the devil, whoever he is using, may be thwarted and God’s will alone be done. We need to be careful that when people’s hard hearts make us angry, as happened to Jesus here, we don’t focus on the opposition any more than Jesus did, but rather just keep doing what God has shown us to do.

Political events in the US have gotten closer to home for me than I am used to, certainly. Our younger daughter lives in the Seattle area, and is careful not to go near downtown. My brother lives in Louis­ville, and reported that the turmoil there got very close to him. Reading this morning’s passage reminds me that the underlying reality of it all is spiritual. It is, in the final analysis, spiritual warfare, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t physical consequences. I am to pray, faithfully and earnestly, not simply for those close to me but for the nation and the world, that God’s name would be acknowledged as holy and His kingdom come as His will is done by His imperfect children, including me.

Father, I don’t usually get so political, but this is what You brought to mind. Keep me from compartmentalizing my life. Rather, help me be fully submitted to You in every area, knowing that the Lordship of Christ applies to absolutely everything, with no exceptions. Give me wisdom for every situation, that I may not be led astray by emotions but rather serve as Your agent, even as Jesus did, 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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