In Mark, we have an account of a man in the synagogue on the Sabbath day, with a withered hand. Note carefully that the attention of the crowd was not on the man with the withered hand, but on our Lord Jesus Christ. According to their interpretation of the word of God, Jesus (or anyone else for that matter) had no business attempting to correct this man’s condition on the Sabbath. By questioning them our Lord implies that God’s will is to do good and save life, whereas their cold, rigid views were evil and lethal!
How did this attitude of these “religious” people affect Jesus? He was angered and grieved by their hardness of heart! Whenever a religious system forbids the work of God’s Spirit upon people, our Lord is grieved. Rather than rejoice in this man’s wellness, the religious leaders were upset about the whole thing! If there are opportunities to help someone in need and we have the capacity to do it but don’t, the Lord is grieved because it actually displays a lack of love.
Hardness of heart is the root of so many divorces. I don’t know what we think we will gain by hardening our hearts toward the Lord. In fact, Job asked, “Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered?” This hardening of the heart is a spiritual disease that we all must fight because it is closely associated with unbelief. A hard heart heaps up “treasures” of wrath that often surface on our tongues. How sad to see a person’s heart become so cold that it cannot see and enjoy the miracles of God. How pathetic it is to see some people harden their hearts to Christ.
Saints, none of us are beyond hardening. We are told to exhort one another daily or we can be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Since we are warned about hardening our hearts, it would seem that we can prevent that from happening. To keep short accounts with God and to continue in His word are two “anti-hardening” tools.
To sincerely love our Lord is the most important thing that each of us can do. May we, by God’s grace, have soft hearts that are moved by God’s Spirit rather than hardened by grievous attitudes. With so many “withered” people around us, saved and unsaved, let’s not grieve God but give to Him our hearts through which He can move.