And He (Jesus) entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. So they (the Pharisees) watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so they might accuse Him. And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. Mark 3:1-5 NKJV
The Pharisees laid out their AGENDA against Jesus as they looked to accuse Him of being unlawful or sinful. If they only knew how ludicrous it was to attempt accusing God of sinning. Accuse here is #2723 Strong’s Concordance in the Greek-kategoreo-meaning before a judge. They were attempting to judge Jesus, having no understanding that they were sealing their own fate and would ultimately be judged by Him. Why was this their AGENDA in the synagogue-the house of God, the place of worship? Did they forget the purpose of entering into His house? Did they remember the words of David in Psalm 100:4 on how to enter the synagogue? It says, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise.” A heart of gratitude and praise is softened to the heart of God. A hardened heart is in opposition to the will of God. The Pharisees were acting as if God’s house was theirs. They wanted it run their own way.
Jesus had an AGENDA as well. His was laid out in Luke 4:16-21 which says, So He came to Nazareth where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He opened the book, He found the place where it was written: The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD. Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Jesus was doing the very thing prophesied about Him that He would do. He healed and this time it was for a man with a withered hand.
Many of us enter God’s house or church on Sundays and perhaps other days of the week. As we enter the doors (gates) are we thankful to the One that has blessed us, saved us, redeemed us? Do we enter the sanctuary (courts) with praise? Praise and worship to the One exalted above all else? Which AGENDA do we enter with-accusation or healing? Maybe our AGENDA doesn’t look so accusatory or judgmental. Maybe it’s wrapped up prettier like finding a good business connection, planning lunch with a friend, scoping out a potential mate, or comparing the latest fashions. Regardless how innocuous it seems, God’s house is His house not our own. He deserves to be treated as the Holy Father that He is. Thanking, praising, worshiping, and doing the things His Son Jesus did-preaching good news, ministering to the brokenhearted, setting people free, and performing miraculous healings are how our AGENDA matches with God’s. If we do church our own way forsaking what God really cares about, our hearts are just as hard as the Pharisees were. This not only grieves God, but He is angry as well, just like Jesus showed us.
Develop a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving and follow the example of the compassionate loving Jesus. He cared about people. That was His AGENDA and should be ours as well.