Heartfelt or Hateful ? Thursday, 2nd week in ordinary time – Mark 3:7-12
Read also this article I wrote some time ago based on this Gospel text. you can do that by clicking this link https://www.pottypadre.com/speaking-truth-to-power/
Jesus was clearly not wanted and that was putting it mildly! The preceding verse tells us that the Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him; how to destroy him. There are way too many unnerving words strung up in one sentence; conspired, against and destroy. What if these words were used against us? What if two very influential groups of people were ‘conspiring’ against us? what if they were ‘against us’ and wish to ‘destroy’ us? How would that leave us feeling? What would be our response?
The Gospel of today begins by telling us Jesus’ reaction to such hate; he just moved on. He departs from the synagogue in Capernaum and moves to the harp shaped lake of Galilee. Ironically, the Gospels tell us that while the Pharisees had brick bats ready to throw, the ‘multitudes’ greeted him with bouquets. In three chapters that we have covered of the Gospel of Mark, it has become quite clear that Jesus had become more than just a Galilean sensation; he was now quite the national talk. Scripture tells us that multitudes from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, which is beyond the Jordan and people from the regions of Tyre and Sidon had all flocked to listen to him.
While a modern mind would simply attribute such popularity to the several sensational miracles that Jesus performed, the Gospel have been diligent to record from the get-go that it was his teaching with authority that drew people to him. The Gospel of Mark has not watered down for a minute the teaching ministry of Jesus (1:21, 1:38,1:39, 1:45, 2:2, 2:13). While healers may well have their ministry, it is the hunger for the word of God that sustains the faith of the believer. You may seek a flash in a pan but that’s all you will get!
The Gospel of today has a lesson for us to learn. In the face of such opposition from powerful forces and with hate words like conspiracy and destroy stacked up against us, many would feel compelled to give up the work or ministry we were involved in. Besides the many faith-learnings that Our Lord imparts, his life lessons are equally inspiring. He did not give up his ministry because he faced opposition. He simply moved from the village to the lake. Opposition to ministry is bound to come and while some powerful people may want us out of the way many would be grateful for what you bring to the table.
Ironically, we given in to our haters. Here is something that you can take strength from. While most people love you and admire you, they sadly never vocalize or demonstrate their affection, fondness or appreciation for what you do. To them I say, roses on a grave can’t be smelt by the dead. And then there are those who dislike us for what we stand for or who we are or what we do; this small group of people ensure that we know how much they dislike us. They have no problem parading their hate for us standing even an inch in front of our nose. Live in the knowledge that the vast majority of Jesus’ disciples loved him, that’s why they followed him leaving sour grapes in the mouths of the Pharisees.
Finally, we are told that whenever the unclean spirits saw Jesus they fell down before him and shouted, “You are the Son of God!” But Jesus sternly ordered them not to make him known. This is a curious line. Why would Jesus not want to be known? The question is not why would he not want to be known but who would he want to speak for him? Jesus certainly did not need Satan to testify on his behalf.
There is a lesson in this to learn. Dancing with the devil especially when he opts to be our standard bearer is not the flag that you and I want to stand under. Jesus did not need satan’s help to make himself known and even if no one knew our Lord, he would well be better off than to take the assistance of Lucifer. Leave the evil one to his wily ways; focus on the Lord.