Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Mark 3, verses 1-2.
“Looking for a reason to accuse:” smack dab in the middle of the beginning of this chapter is a huge statement; it’s one that plagues everything we do today.
Take North Korea: the headlines this week are full of how the North Korean government has supposedly hacked into Sony’s Hollywood systems and caused the US political aisle) are quick to find fault with the other side, either for Sony’s irresponsible movie-making concept or the US government’s lackluster response to a cyber act of war.
And then there’s the issue of Cuba, where the president of the United States has drastically modified the US’ generations-old policy towards that island dictatorship. Some have said that our embargo has only hurt the Cuban people; others have countered that it is only the fault of the Castro dictators that the Cuban people live in misery.
Or how about the murders of police officers; the killings of young black men; a bankrupt US government managed by two political parties that shadow box themselves into intransigent positions; Ford versus GM; Mormons versus Baptists; Bush versus Clinton; war on Christmas versus the rights of believers to enjoy the holiday: it seems like our entire lives are lately consumed with people – meaning us – looking for reasons to accuse each other. Sometimes those accusations are substantiated, even justified; sometimes it is propaganda. Yet especially now we, as a society, seem to be waiting to be offended so that we can look for reasons to accuse ‘the other guy.’
If you’re a Christian, don’t stop reading now because you think you’re doing alright. You’ve done it too, even if you’re living a ‘good life.’ If you don’t believe me, then tell me about the relatives you don’t get along with. Or the kid who bullied you once and how you hated them for it. Tell me about all the times you envied X, Y or Z, then tell me you haven’t looked for reasons to accuse someone of something. I’m guilty of it a dozen times a day, maybe more. My sins are scarlet, just like yours. Welcome to our world, my friend.
Let me remind you that Jesus once said that, if the world hates us, it is because it hated Him first. In doing so, they unjustly accused Him.
The folks who wanted to accuse Jesus were watching Him to see if He would do something we, of today, would generally think to be good. They wanted to see if Jesus would heal on the Sabbath again, an infraction of their legalistic religious practices. They WANTED to see Him do something so they could have a reason to accuse Him and drive a wedge between Jesus and His growing movement of followers.
Since Christmas is this week, I truly hope you will have a very merry one, and that your holiday will be full of love, hope, and good memories. Yet I implore you to take this memory with you today and ponder what you intend to do about it: you and I are the Pharisees sometimes, waiting to accuse others of things they may or may not have done. Waiting to pig-pile on Jesus instead of being Jesus for them.
Lord, please forgive me for failing You by accusing others.
Read ahead in Mark 3, verses 1-6