March 02, 2017

Murder Motive: Religious Hatred

Mark 3:1-6; Luke 13:10-17

The Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

—  Mark 3:6

When Jesus came, good things happened.

When Jesus opened the Scriptures and taught everyone what those ancient words meant for their own lives and times, “the people were delighted” and many were amazed.

When Jesus encountered people stricken by disease or paralysis, his word and touch brought healing. The reaction was often great enthusiasm, and thanks and praise to God.

But some who witnessed Jesus’ teaching and healing were not impressed. The religious leaders known as the Pharisees had built their reputation on their meticulous observance of hundreds of rules forbidding things that might be interpreted as work on the Sabbath day of rest. When Jesus refused to play by those rules (Mark 2:27), the Pharisees took offense. They were especially perturbed that Jesus dared to help and heal people on the holiest day of their week, the Sabbath. They were also outraged by the positive responses Jesus got from the crowds.

So angry were the Pharisees that they claimed Jesus’ healing words and touch were from the devil (Mark 3:22-24). As a result, they were looking for ways to kill Jesus, the one who had come so that people could have life to the full (John 10:10).

Jesus, you brought healing to minds and bodies as you used creation power to help your people. And for this, some took offense to the point of hatred. This is still true today too, Lord. Heal your world, we pray. Amen.

About the author — Fred Bultman

Fred Bultman began a “second career” as a pastor in 1997, after a first career in the banking business.  He served as pastor to congregations in the U.S. and Canada. In retirement, he continues to enjoy sharing in the ministry of the churches in and around his home in Fremont, Michigan.

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