Jump Start # 2683
Mark 3:2 “And they were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, in order that they might accuse Him.
Here was a group of people watching Jesus. They expected Jesus to heal the man with the withered hand. They just knew He would. So, they were watching. They were not watching with joy. They were not watching with hope. They had the critical eye. They had their radar guns pointed at Jesus. They were ready to pounce the moment He made a mistake. And, in their book, healing on the Sabbath was a big mistake.
Other times in the Gospels, we find a similar thought. In Luke 14, Jesus was in the home of a Pharisee. Again, it was the Sabbath. The text says, “they were watching Him closely.” You can just see them sitting on the edge of their seats. Every move Jesus made, they’d notice. Some would whisper to each other.
Do you remember the times you were watched closely? Remember taking your driver’s test for the first time. So many things to remember and you hoped that you wouldn’t mess up. If you have been in the military, you understand someone watching you closely. Standing at attention and a drill sergeant looks at you from head to toe. Maybe you had to recite some lines before a class or play a recital before a piano instructor. All eyes were upon you. Scared. Nervous. Trying to remember everything perfectly. Those were not fun times in our lives.
In some ways the world is watching us. Some are just waiting for you to slip up, say the wrong word, show a bad attitude, crack under stress and that’s all they need to loudly declare that you are a fake and a hypocrite. It’s hard to recover from those times.
Our families watch us and without realizing it we set before them the right or the wrong examples in life. Little ones will get a better impression of God from mom and dad at home than a month of sermons down at the church house.
And, you and I can be guilty of watching each other very closely. We look for mistakes. Then we tell everyone about them. We talk just loud enough that others can hear and agree with us. “We sang that hymn last week,” we say. “There’s a typo in the bulletin.” And, as we are doing this, our worship to God has gone out the window. We become more concerned what each other are doing that what our heart ought to be doing. Watching closely is a profession for some. Some have spent a life time doing this. They can tell you every mistake someone made from years gone by. Watching closely…it sure makes the rest of us nervous.
But there are some things we learn from this:
First, I only have to please God. I don’t have to please you. You may not like the way I dress, the sound of my voice, the type of car I drive, how my home is decorated, how well I take care of the yard, and ten thousand other things. Most of which do not matter at all. The one I’m aiming to please is the Lord. Sometimes folks get the idea that they are Heaven’s designated police force. Things must pass their inspection first, before it is approved by God. Nonsense. Focus upon God, do your best, put a smile on your face and walk right past those who are looking closely at you.
Second, it seems that while these Pharisees, and even us today, are busy looking closely at others, they are not seeing themselves. They are looking in the wrong direction. Had they looked closely at their attitudes, heart, walk, and words, things might have turned out better for them. The same goes for us. We allow others to bother us, while we don’t bother looking at our own walk in life. This is where the self-righteous and judgmental spirits are born. Those two have a nasty way of running people off and hurting feelings. Look closely at yourself would do us all a lot of good.
Third, don’t ever forget that God sees you. You can’t hide things from Him. He looks and wants you to do better He looks and loves what He sees. He looks and wants to help you. God is not looking to catch you messing up. He takes no joy in that. He wants you to do well and He wants you to do right.
What a shame that those Pharisees were so close to Jesus, yet they never really saw Him. And, I wonder how many are doing the same today. Open our eyes, Lord. We want to see Jesus!