Skewed Intentions

It would seem that, not only where my focus remains, but also the motives of my heart are vital to my thinking, behavior and actions.

On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. Luke 6:6-7 

The Pharisees were watching him closely, insidiously, treacherously, awaiting a chance to pounce. Their total focus was to catch Jesus breaking the law and entrap Him.  

But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” 

He looked around at them all (Mark 3:5 says that he looked at them in anger and grieved at their hardness of heart) and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. Luke 6:8-10 

But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious (filled with fury) and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus. Luke 6:6-11 

They were furious! A man was healed. A man who most likely had either been a burden on his family or reduced to begging. But the Pharisees, hoping to entrap Jesus, insisted that healing constituted work and the man should not have been helped.  

“It is important to note that Jesus was not violating the law of God when He healed on the Sabbath. He was surely acting against the Pharisaical interpretation of the law and against their particular rules. But the Holy One of God, who came to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17), did not violate the law. The basic reason that Jesus healed on the Sabbath was that people needed His help. Need knows no calendar.” — Got Questions 

In any case, Jesus skipped over all the arguments about interpretation and just loved the man.  

And they were filled with rage. They were so intent on their interpretation of the law that they missed it! You shall love …

You know what the interesting thing is? The word that is translated “furious” (in the Hebrew, filled with fury) means folly, madness, “madness expressing itself in rage.” At its root it means, “no-mind” referring to irrational behavior or mindless actions. It means lack of sense “folly, foolishness” which easily degenerates into “a state of extreme anger that suggests an incapacity to use one’s mind – extreme fury, great rage.”i 

Wow. It would seem that, not only where my focus remains, but also the motives of my heart are vital to my thinking, behavior and actions. The Pharisees were watching Jesus closely, a good thing. We should all fix our eyes on Jesus. But their intent was skewed and so they were blinded to God’s will and heart, mercy, love, compassion. As Jesus warned: 

The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! Matthew 6:22-23 (ESV) 

I need to be careful that my eye is healthy. What is my focus and intent? Is it on being right and in control? Or is it on God’s word and will? What is my motivation and heart’s desire? Is it self-righteousness, self-glory? Or God’s glory, God’s delight. 

And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart … Mark 3:5 

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (ESV) 

iDefinitions from HELPS Word-studies, NAS Exhaustive Concordance, and Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. 

Image of oil lamp by Bee Collins https://flic.kr/p/bSdftM 

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