The Hardness of Men's Hearts
The religious rulers of the day were greatly concerned that Jesus was gathering too large a following. Every day He was healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and teaching the love and forbearance of God. The Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees were watching for an opportunity to catch Him doing something in violation of the Law.
On this particular Sabbath, Jesus entered the local synagogue and discovered that there was a fellow there whose hand was withered. What a wonderful opportunity this was for all present that Saturday morning to witness the power of God restoring a friend’s health. But, rather than rejoicing, those present chose to condemn Jesus for healing on the Sabbath.
Jesus asked those present a simple question (vs 4), one that any person present could easily have answered. When everyone had refused to answer, Jesus attempted to look every man present in the eye.
1. He was grieved that men could care so little for one another. He could have waited till the next day to heal the man but why not reward his hope immediately?
2. Jesus was grieved that they would allow a doctrinal disagreement to keep them from repentance.
I. The Cause Of Jesus’ Anger
A. The hardness of men’s hearts
1. Men resolved never to bend, never to relent
2. Willing to condemn themselves and others in order to maintain a sense of superiority
B. They refused to see the truth
1. That they were all more damaged than the man with the palsied hand
2. Like children refusing the medicine needed
II. Are We Sometimes Guilty of Having A Hard Heart?
A. Have we allowed calluses to form?
1. Practicing a form of religion without heart?
2. Going through the motions without expectation of a miracle?
B. Are we so set in our ways that nothing new can happen?
III. What Response Will We Make?
A. Learn to love others more than being right
1. Excusing a weaker brother’s faults
2. Being patient with another’s immaturity
B. Avoid hardening influences
1. Confessing our own sins and fleeing temptation
2. Stop making excuses
C. Use heart softeners
1. Listen to the still small voice of the Spirit
2. Read the word, hear the word, pray and praise the Lord
3. Accept responsibility and leadership rather than complaining about how someone else is doing things
When it seems there is nothing in the service to get excited about we are liable to either blame someone else or get used to seeing nothing happen. We would do better to ask, “What may I do to see God at work?”