Truth, Understanding, Insight

Grieved at the hardness of their heart

24th August 2023, hej


1) Why Y'shua was Grieved at the hardness of their heart

He (Y'shua) 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.
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. (Mark 3:4-5)

From Mark Chapter 2 and the parallel accounts it appears the events could take place in the synagogue at Capuranaum, certainly in a synagogue in the Galilee region. In context all reports agree that the sequence of events began with the healing of a man with Palsy in the house likely in Capurnaum where Y'shua of Nazareth lodged.

When he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.
And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?
But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. (Luke 5:20-24)

This passage is the a key to understanding the depth of grief and anger Y'shua had as he healed the man with the withered hand. Fundamentally here was the power of life over eternal death. Fundamentally power was delegated to the son of God to forgive sins. Luke builds the sequence showing that the next sabbath in the same place there was a dispute over the Disciples eating corn.

And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.

And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?
And Jesus answering them said, "Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him; How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?" And he said unto them, "That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath." (Luke 6:1-6)

One can only imagine that comparing his disciples with King David was thought a great presumption, especially as demolishes the argument; eating corn is nothing compared to eating shewbread. The claim that the Son of Man is above the Sabbath might have been somewhat of a shock. It would be a new idea. This would make Christ greater than Moses. Luke does not record a reaction. One suspects that the audience was stunned to silence.

And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. (Luke 6:7)

Then on the third Sabbath, there is present in the synagogue this man with a withered hand. We are not told if he is local, he is likely not. We are not told if he is a 'trap', but he may have been, as in any case they were watching to see if he would heal, breaking their human made Sabbath 'laws' which Y'shua dared dispute.

But he (Y'shua) knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, “Rise up, and stand forth in the midst.” And he arose and stood forth. (Luke 6:8 cp Mark 3:3)

Because our Lord could know inner thoughts – he makes things that may be hidden to others evident and plain. He sees they wish to test him, so he takes the test and brings if forth for all to see – indeed for witness for the whole world even today! - and then turns it against them. Our Lord is emotionally angry with a deep and bitter sorrow. Luke implied a measured command but Mark captures the emotion and records only he says to the man, “Stand forth!”

In the simplest level of comprehension, we can see the event is at the level of one man's pity for his fellow man that they would wish to prolong another's suffering. He was there, no doubt, to be healed. These unnamed Pharisees, who likely had thought leaders, considered that the man with the withered hand should wait at least until the first day of the week to be healed. If this is the matter that hope to catch Y'shua on then this in their mind is a point of law.

We know that this point is at issue as Y'shua calls it out

“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?” (Mark 3:4)

If the Sabbath is about rest, good and redemption in rest, should perhaps healing more fitly occur on the Sabbath? The Torah expected that they even labour on that day to feed their animals and save the life of their ass or ox (Luke 13:15 – Luke 14:5). Our Lords' point is if the Sabbath is holy due to this rest at creation and the rest of salvation, should not all be healed that day? If they were not to carry burdens, how right it is to be released from burden (Jer 17:21). If healing is a delight should not the humblest be healed that day and call the sabbath a delight?

If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: (Isaiah 58:13)

Even on the simple question as to be so strict at keeping the interpretation of a law as whether to do good for someone on the sabbath or to ask them to wait, one may be angry.

On the next level of anger involving the argument over the interpretation of the Torah, in the presence of miracle, Y'shua and the Heavens would be justly angry. Despite the absolute evidence of all the healing, the leaders of the Pharisees thought themselves superior in their human understanding, in the presence of power that they must have known could only come from God! If they thought sins cause illness, so healing of illness is forgiveness of sins, they must by their own logic have known here was great power that could only have come from God. Only pride, envy and willful blindness of heart can explain their inability to see the truth. But it is worse than ignoring the truth- they have in their rage actively sought to fight it. They are not there to listen to our Lord in reasoned argument but to trap him. They have already in their own mind decided their belief despite all evidence and have no intention of listening to reason. They are unreasonable judges. This is the second level of our Lord's anger and sorrow.

We can be very emotionally angry as in the Greek of Mark's record 'orge' implies excitement and passion. But this anger here is also a joint or communal sorrow sullupeo – sun (union together)- lupeo (sorrow distress). Who was Y'shua jointly sorrowing with? His Father in heaven? The Elohim angels who rejoice when sinners repent (Luke 15:7)?

These Pharisees there that day are leaders. They have with them lawyers. What they think and believe has great consequences for themselves and others. They are not a humble uneducated person with a damaged hand that prevents them from working as they may wish to earn a good income, to whom even their own mother may not listen. These Pharisees have set themselves up as the only shepherds of the sheep of God's pasture. This is why they have great envy. But this is also why our Lord has great sorrow for them and the great multitude of those who they lead. As Y'shua said that day, this was about life and death – to save life or kill. Not only were they there that day killing themselves – they were also seeking the eternal death of a great multitude of others. Our Lord expressed the great depth of his anger and grief later when he said

“I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)

There that day in the Synagogue as the man stood there with the withered hand, our Lord and our Heavenly Father looked at the hearts, and some in their hardness of heart would never believe, despite all evidence in miracle and logical argument, that Yahweh Elohim had prepared their eternal salvation in the life of Y'shua of Nazareth. Yet mercy is extended – unbelief could have been punished, but the Pharisees were not destroyed, but left that day, because until their death there was mercy extended and opportunity for repentance

But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again. How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! (Psalm 78:38-40)

There is collective joy in heaven when sinners repent- there is great collective grieving in heaven at the hardness of heart of those who will not believe, especially of those who should know better, and who have in their hand the key of knowledge.

If only from the greatest to the least all would serve Yahweh.

They put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel. (Judges 10:16)