It is another Strava Reset Day! Monday’s are fun for Strava users, because they are like a blank canvas.
What will this coming week look like? How many miles can I accumulate before the next Strava Reset Day?
I got this week off to a pretty good start with an early 5k with my bride, followed by an afternoon 10k with a friend.
Daily Run: My first run of the day was a classic “Triangle Route” 5k. Jodi and I ran 3.3 miles in 30 minutes and 47 seconds, which is an average pace of 9:19 per mile. It was a brisk morning, but it felt good to get active and get out right away.
My second run for the day was at the Fredericksburg trail with Derrick Miller. We ran a bit faster and a bit further than this morning. We ran 6.2 miles in 45 minutes and 26 seconds, which is an average pace of 7:19 per mile.
Daily Bible Reading: The opening section in Mark 3 is really quite astonishing. I want to break it down verse by verse.
[Jesus] entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand.Mark 3:1, ESV
The Bible describes Jesus’ synagogue attendance as customary. There are several verses that mention Jesus going to the synagogue, which would be somewhat of a modern equivalent of church for Christians today. Luke 4:16 says, “as was his custom, [Jesus] went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day”. Though He was not a “Pastor”, and He wasn’t a part of the Synagogue Leadership Team, He regularly attended the synagogue on the Sabbath.
For those who claim to “follow Christ”, it should be our custom to attend church. The majority of Jesus’ ministry was not in the synagogue, but rather in the highways and the byways of life. Most of His ministry happened along the way, as He was going, but He still made it a point to be at the synagogue on the Sabbath. We should, too. I’m sure that He did not always get something out of the message being proclaimed, and there is certainly a chance that He didn’t love the musical worship (after all, He was used to the angelic choir of heaven, right?), but it was still His custom to be at the synagogue on the Sabbath. It should be our custom to go to church, too.
On this particular occasion of going to the synagogue on the Sabbath, He encountered a man with a withered hand.
And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him.Mark 3:2, ESV
What a fascinating verse! Jesus is being watched as He is going into the synagogue. Do you ever feel like people are watching you at church? Well, Jesus knows that feeling all too well. They were watching Him to see whether He would heal the man on the Sabbath.
Now take a moment to consider the implications of that statement. They were watching Him to see whether He would heal the man on the Sabbath. This is a faith statement. They watched because they knew that He could heal the man! How amazing to think that they were aware of His ability, and rather than praise God for it, they watched to see if He would perform a miracle so they could accuse Him. How messed up is that?!
And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.”Mark 3:3, ESV
Two things here.
First, Jesus is asking the man to put some of his own effort into what is about to happen. “Come here.” I have come to where you are, now you come to where I am. Are you willing to put forth the effort to receive what I want to give you?
Second, even though He is being watched, He is not going to perform this miracle in secret. “Come here.” Come right here where everyone is watching. This miracle is not going to be performed where no one can see. Everyone is going to see this. In fact, I’m going to turn this into a teachable moment.
And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent.Mark 3:4, ESV
It’s about to go down. But first, Jesus is setting the stage. This is a perfect opportunity for those who are watching Him to realize that He is about to do good to the man, not evil. They stay silent. They will not be moved.
And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.Mark 3:5, ESV
Jesus looks at them with anger. He is grieved at their hardness of heart. Let that sink in. Throw away all of your wrong ideas of a Jesus who never gets angry, who never becomes grieved by the hardness of our hearts. That is a false Jesus. The true Jesus deeply wants us to see and savor His goodness.
The man with the withered hand once again had to put forth his own effort. He had to, in faith, stretch out his hand. That simple act of obedience, mixed with faith, compounded with the goodness of God, produced a miracle.
The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.Mark 3:6, ESV
And they missed it. Rather than rejoicing at the LORD’s provision, they doubled-down on hardening their hearts. He had put them in a tough position with all that talk about whether it was lawful to do good or evil, so they decided that they needed to gang up with the Herodians, a group of people who were far less concerned about good and evil.
Like the evil Dr. Claw at the end of another Inspector Gadget episode, you could almost hear them saying, “We’ll get you next time, Jesus…”