I’ve been working my way through the gospels in my morning Bible reading. I think it’s pretty cool to read the different accounts of Jesus’ earthly ministry, as each author has a different way of recounting the events that took place and highlighting specific things. When I got to Mark 3, I was struck by this passage:
Now He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a paralyzed hand. In order to accuse Him, they were watching Him closely to see whether He would heal him on the Sabbath. He told the man with the paralyzed hand, ‘Stand before us.’ Then He said to them, ‘Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do what is good or to do what is evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they were silent. After looking around at them with anger and sorrow at the hardness of their hearts, He told the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ So he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. – Mark 3:1-5, HCSB
Lord knows how many times I’ve heard or read this story… more than I could count, I’m sure. But what really stood out to me this time is Jesus’ reaction to the Pharisees’ response in this situation. Jesus was filled with anger and sorrow at the lack of compassion the Pharisees showed the man with the paralyzed hand. He probably knew what their response would be, but it upset him anyway. Everyone there knew this man was in need, yet no one showed compassion.
Jesus healed that man right then, on the Sabbath – when it wasn’t convenient. It wasn’t a work day or even a day when He was “supposed to” be in “ministry mode.” In fact, He wasn’t supposed to be doing anything, which is why the Pharisees were following Him – to find reason to accuse Jesus of breaking the law of the Sabbath. But because of His compassion, He healed the man anyway, no matter what it would cost him.
We must always be ready to minister to those in need around us. Our ministry isn’t limited to Sunday service within the four walls of the church building. “Doing what is good… to save a life” is what the law of God’s grace calls us to do. Sometimes we’ll have to go out of our way. Sometimes people will think we’re doing too much and won’t like it. Regardless, Jesus’ example and His Word call us to action when we are faced with an opportunity to minister by extending God’s love toward others.
“So it is a sin for the person who knows to do what is good and doesn’t do it.” – James 4:17, HCSB
We can’t let our own schedules, preferences or mood hold us back from the ministry God has called us to. What, then, would separate us from the Pharisees? How, then, would we give an account to God for the opportunities we intentionally passed over?
Lord, help me to see past myself. Teach me how to be in the moment and not miss opportunities to minister to the people you place in my path on a daily basis. Thank you for extending your grace to forgive me for the opportunities I’ve missed and to trust me to get it right next time.