Mark 3:5Posted 05/23/22, by Dan Vis
This week I decided to do something a little different. I've decided to spend some time exploring verses that deal with the negative emotions Jesus experienced.
Sometimes we think Jesus never had negative emotions, but the Bible don't really seem to indicate that. He had perfect control over His emotions--for sure--and never once gave into sin. But that doesn't mean He never had to deal with the kinds of negative emotions most of us do, all so often.
Take this verse for example:
And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
This was not the first time Jesus had healed someone in the synagogue on Sabbath. In Mark 1, Jesus had encountered "a man with an unclean spirit" in the synagogue (Mark 1:23And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,), and on that occasion, Jesus had rebuked the spirit and cast it out (Mark 1:25And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.). At that time, the people said nothing about it being the Sabbath--they were just astonished at His power. "What new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they obey him" (Mark 1:27And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.).
In the next chapter, they had confronted Jesus for allowing His disciples to pluck some ears of corn while walking through a field on the sabbath (Mark 2:23And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.). Jesus had pushed back at their charges, by essentially claiming that He Himself was "Lord also of the sabbath" (Mark 2:28Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.). This incident led to an uneasy tension between Jesus and the Pharisees, and they clearly saw it as a potential point of attack--to discredit Jesus.
By the time we get to today's verse, Jesus is once again in the synagogue, on the Sabbath. And there was "a man there which had a withered hand". And every eye was fixed on Jesus--to see whether or not He would heal him. They had already settled it in their minds, that if Jesus healed this man, they would use that to discredit Jesus as a Sabbath breaker.
Of course, rather than avoiding the situation, Jesus confronted it head on. He had the crippled man "stand forth" (Mark 3:3And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.), and then asked this powerful question: "Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill" (Mark 3:4And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.). As His eyes gazed across the room, not a one dared answer Him. Stunned (and humiliated), they refused to say a thing.
And then today's verse. Jesus grew angry at their unwillingness to acknowledge His divine credentials, their insistence on condemning His ministry--and their complete disregard for the well being of that suffering man. And so Jesus healed the man, offending the Pharisees terribly, and setting them on a path of total opposition to the work of Jesus.
It seems a bit strange, but there's no question that Jesus was angry. If you had been one of those men in that room, I'm sure it would have been intensely uncomfortable to face those fierce eyes. They knew exactly what He was asking: Which is it? Are you going to stick to your opposition to me, and leave this man to suffer? Or can you show a bit of compassion, and endorse this gift I want to give. But they refused to budge.
In exploring this verse a bit further, there are at least a few observation to note about anger. First, I notice that anger is a secondary emotion. That is to say, it's usually driven by some other deeper emotion. In this case, it was grief for the hardness of heart they were manifesting that broke the heart of Jesus. The next time you feel anger, it may be helpful to ask yourself this question: what emotion is hiding underneath that anger, and driving it? If you can resolve that deeper issue, the anger will typically resolve right along with it.
Second, I notice that this anger was other focused. All too often, we get angry because something bad has happened to us. Because we weren't treated right or were forced to experience some loss. But here, we see clearly that Jesus was upset because of the hardness of their heart. The loss they were surely going to experience as a result of rejecting Him. And I'm sure He was a bit frustrated for that crippled man as well, they they were willing to force him to stay in that condition, when healing was at last within reach. This is a second thing we should check when feeling anger. Are we furious because something bad has happened to us, or because something unfortunate is happening to someone else? The first mean our old man is still alive and kicking. The second shows our sense of justice and compassion is still working. Which is actually a good thing, if our quest is to be like Jesus.
And third, I notice that when Jesus felt this emotion, He did something about it. He immediately spoke to the man and commanded him to stretch forth his hand. While our actions must always be positive, constructive, and kind--anger is a call to action. To allow those emotions to boil and ferment in our heart and no do something is counterproductive. Rather, we should use our anger as an incentive, to motivate us to do something positive. Like Jesus did.
There are multiple instances in the Bible where we see the wrath of God in one form or another. And so it shouldn't surprise us to see flashes of anger here and there in the life of Jesus. But the example of Jesus gives us powerful insights into how we can manage our anger.
To trace it back to the root emotion triggering our anger so we can attempt to defuse the real source. To make sure we are not expressing anger tied to our own selfish desires, but to the legitimate needs of others. And finally, to use it as a motivator, or incentive, to act positively. To right a wrong. To meet a need. To heal a man's withered arm.
Remembering these few simple rules, won't eliminate every trace of anger from our life, but it will help us to manage our anger in such a way that we do not commit sin (Ephesians 4:26Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:).
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