Jesus: A Man of Self-control

Reference Scripture: Mark 3: 1-6

The above passage gives an account of how Jesus once again entered the synagogue, and this time, restored a man’s withered hand. Of course the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He would heal the man on the Sabbath, then they could accuse Him of breaking the law by doing work on that day (see Exodus 31:14). Jesus asked them one of His penetrating questions, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? (Mark 3:4). As was the repeatedly the case when Jesus asked them a question, the Pharisees could not effectively answer and had no good option but to remain silent. At this point, Jesus “looked all around them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts”; and then without hesitation, He healed the man’s hand. Immediately, the Pharisees (obviously greatly angered and offended) left to conspire with each other as to how they might destroy Him.

In a previous post- “Be Angry, Yet Do Not Sin”- an account was given about how Jesus did not act out of fleshly anger but instead accomplished God’s will in a way that was glorifying to the Lord. In this incident in Mark 3, we again see that Jesus displayed the same self-control: even as Jesus intently looked at the hypocritical Pharisees with anger, He refused to retaliate or lose control of His emotions. We clearly see that this was not the case with the Pharisees, who gave in to their fleshly and retaliatory anger to the point of conspiring to actually destroy Jesus.

In another post, “Not the Letter, But the Spirit”, we explored how the letter of the law (obeying it at all costs) was not life-giving or loving; instead, acting out of the spirit or true intent of the law better served others with the love of Christ. Here, Jesus again confronted the Pharisees’ legalistic keeping of the law, which was condemning to the very ones that they should have been serving. Keeping the letter would have been to do nothing that could be construed as “work”, but Jesus chose to do good on behalf of the man with the withered hand by healing him; thereby, keeping the spirit of the law which was life-giving and loving.