“And They Waited To Accuse Him” ( Mark 3: 2, ESV ) by Carley Evans

Jesus is in the synagogue on the Sabbath; a man with a withered hand is also there. The Pharisees watch Jesus to see if He will heal the man unlawfully on the Sabbath. Jesus “grieves at their hardness of heart” and is angry that these religious leaders do not recognize that it is “lawful on the Sabbath to do good” rather than to do or allow harm. (Mark 3:5,4) And of course Jesus restores the man’s withered hand. The Pharisees immediately plot “how to destroy [Jesus]” “with the Herodians.” (Mark 3:6)

Jesus sees Matthew “sitting at the tax booth” and calls to him to follow. “And he rises and follows [Jesus].” (Matthew 9:9) Later, Jesus joins Matthew, other tax collectors, and sinners at a house; He reclines at the table amidst sinners. The Pharisees accuse, asking Jesus’ disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matthew 9:11) Jesus hears. He tells them that those who are well have no need of a doctor while those who are sick need healing. Then Jesus says, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.'” (Matthew 9:13)

“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” as do the Pharisees. “They always go astray in their heart; they do not know My ways. As I swear in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.'” (Hebrews 3:7-8,10-11)