As they remained silent, Jesus looked around at them in anger, grieving at the hardness of their hearts, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” The man stretched it out; and his hand had become sound.
without a prayer
or a smile
a healing needed
without a reason
a needed healing
without mustard faith
without a friend
Friend and foe alike have been waiting for Jesus to bring the action forward. So far we simply have a question being raised to which there is no good response: is the Sabbath a most propitious time to taste restoration and extend it?
Into the scene as set, Jesus finally begins a slow burn. Glancing back and forth and through those gathered, their willingness to stand by, as if impotent, brought his sense of a loss of good news to a boiling point.
Any attempt, even Mark’s, to put this into words is doomed to failure. Anger is a wide-ranging word. We don’t easily associate it with a Jesus-meek-and-mild. Partly this is because we know we are not up to following a path of good news with the threat of military annihilation or community exile staring us in the face. Just how angry we are willing for Jesus to be is a marker of our trust in being a beloved among beloveds when there remains a stubborn dullness deep within us.
The word behind “anger” is ὀργή (orgē) which in other settings is used as descriptive of the “wrath” of G*D. In Luke, this is part of John’s angry calling out of those come to be baptized as “snakes” in need of a change deeper than a shedding of skin.
Unmitigated anger is wildness—let lose it would melt everyone’s face as in Raider’s of the Lost Ark. It may only be through a repeated experience of personal wilderness in the midst of social wilderness that this sort of wildness can be focused.
Whatever the process, the fury of being set up and “obdurate stupidity” (C.S. Mann) on the part of those watching and judging a man’s weakness, an instruction comes to simply hold out the withered hand. Without further ado, faith language, forgiveness, or any other reason given, a hand is healed. The end?