Running With Mark 18

Day Eighteen – January 15, 2020

Read: Mark 3:1-6 New Revised Standard Version

We are only 3 chapters into the gospel of Mark and look at the miracles Jesus has already performed;

  • A man with an unclean spirit (1:21-28),
  • Simon’s mother-in-law and many other people at Simon’s house (1:29-34)
  • Cleansed a leper (1:40-45)
  • Healed a paralytic (2:1-12)
  • Now he will healed a man with a withered hand (3:1-6). Perhaps most notably, when the crowds pressed around him at the side of the sea, unclean spirits “fell down before him, and cried, ‘You are the Son of God!’” (3:11).


Jesus was in the synagogue on the sabbath.  “They” watched him to see if he would cure the man with the withered hand on the sabbath.  “They” were likely a couple of groups of people.  One group was made up of some of the Pharisees.  The second group was the Herodians, who worked and supported Rome.  Pharisees and Herodians rarely worked together.


Jesus “….looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart” (Mark 3:5). Have you ever thought about Jesus being angry?  Mark’s gospel will often point out the humanity of Jesus.  Like us, he got angry sometimes.  Unlike us, he probably handled his anger in a more healthy way.


Did you catch what he is angry about?  He’s not angry with some tax collector, or a woman caught in adultery, or little children who keep pushing through the crowd to be near him.  He is angry with people who have hardened hearts.


Have you ever had a hardened heart?  I must admit that sometimes when I have been hurt by someone, or they violate my trust, my heart becomes hard toward them.  And….I can tell myself stories about their behavior and motives that may not be at all true.  Have you read the book Crucial Conversations?  Al Switzer, one of the writers of Crucial Conversations says


Unfortunately, when it matters most, we do our very worst. When moving toward silence or violence, we choose destructive skills over the more helpful ones. We quickly become very adept at sulking, showing offense, debating, interrupting, stacking the deck and preparing our rebuttal while pretending to listen.

While they may not come as quickly or as naturally, we do have other skills better suited to dialogue. We know how to ask, probe, listen, rephrase, take turns, give the benefit of the doubt and diagnose. As soon as you notice that the conversation has turned crucial, make a conscious choice to activate your best skills.


What can you do to prevent having a hard heart toward someone?  In a sermon I once had a backpack filled with heavy rocks.  I walked around with it for a while as I was preaching.  Then I took off the backpack and dropped it onto the floor.  It made an incredible thud! 

As soon as I took it off, I was literally no longer carrying around a heavy weight.  My shoulders felt lighter and my body stood straighter. 


There’s a verse in the Hebrew scriptures in Ezekiel 36:26.  God says, “ A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”


When we are able to let go of anger, hurt and a hardened heart toward someone, God gives us a new spirit, a lighter heart, one that is made not of stone but of flesh.


Visual Liturgy:

Heart of stone




Lord Let My Heart Be Good Soil


Prayer Focus:

Pray that you can drop that backpack full of heavy emotional “stones” and experience freedom, liberation and a soft heart.



Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins