Reading: Mark 2-3
Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. 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. Mark 3:4-6 (NIV)
You can almost read the Pharisees' minds: “Hey, this guy isn't obeying the rules!” But how long had it been since they had pondered the purposes of God and understood his heart for the sabbath? Jesus asked them a rhetorical question, yet to offer the answer would be to admit that their own take on the rule book was missing the point. It could have been a moment of profound learning, but the humility required was absent. Instead, both parties became angry, Jesus at their stubborn hearts, and the Pharisees like dogs who had been backed into a corner. Jesus is described as being “deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts.”
Is there any stubbornness in my heart? I would like to think not, but more likely the conditions that might provoke stubbornness are just not currently presenting themselves. It's easy to feel smug when times are good, but who knows how I might respond in a squeeze. What can I do now so that in the time of testing I will respond with humility instead of stubbornness?
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29
Jesus, I want to be humble, and to find a place of peace away from the need to perform and be right, away from the need to cling to worthless principles instead of learning. Though I hesitate to ask, may I have moments of profound learning that I too may become gentle and humble in heart.