“And He saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
“And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man. Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other” (Mark 3:4,5).
Why did our Lord become angry when the Jewish leaders refused to answer His questions? He was “grieved for the hardness of their hearts.” Their silence was not the silence of ignorance but of willfulness. They had “watched Him whether He would heal… on the sabbath day; that they might accuse Him,” but they could not tell Him what was wrong about it. Indeed, when He asked them what was wrong they refused to answer His questions.
How inconsistent! How unreasonable! How unjust! And, as we read the context, we are amazed to find that this sullen, stubborn opposition came not from the Sadducees but from the Pharisees, not the religious “liberals” but the “conservatives,” the Bible-believers of the day!
They were the orthodox group. Nevertheless, because of their pride and bigotry generations following have looked down upon them and have pronounced with contempt the name Pharisee.
Paul stood with them, doctrinally, against the Sadducees. He said: “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee” (Acts 23:6), nevertheless the Pharisees had joined the Sadducees in their opposition to him and to the glorious message he proclaimed. In this respect times have not changed, for those who stand boldly for God’s message and program for our day will find themselves still opposed by Sadducees and Pharisees alike.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.