Jesus healed a man on a Sabbath. That pushed his enemies over the top. They decided to kill him.
The account takes place early in the Gospel of Mark:
Another time, he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. (3:1-6)
Really. Because he healed a man on the Sabbath? What do we have here?
After all the nonsense that is repeated about Jesus being a gentle peacemaker, reading the Gospels is really quite a shock. We discover a Jesus who is in fact frequently embroiled in conflict—most of which he provokes himself (like healing on the Sabbath).
And every single one of these clashes is with very religious people. Not one hostile encounter involves a “pagan.” Not until the end, at least, when the Roman troopers get hold of him—but he was handed over by the religious establishment.
If you were reading the Gospels without bias or assumption, you would have no trouble whatsoever coming to believe that religion is the enemy—or in the hands of the enemy.
Jesus’ opponents are all people we would consider to be highly invested in doing religion right. They certainly considered themselves to be so.
You will want to keep this in mind if you would know Jesus, really.
For to come to know Jesus intimately, as he is, as he wants to be known, is to release a redemptive landslide in your life. There will be no stopping the goodness. The first purpose of your existence will be resolved, and from there you are set to fulfill all of God’s other purposes for you.
Now—do you really think that the enemy of our souls, the Enemy of Jesus Christ, is simply going to let that happen?
Satan is far too subtle to rely on persecution alone. His most masterful works are of deception (ask Adam and Eve about this when you see them). So the Deceiver deceives by means of distortion, and his favorite tool is to present a distorted Christ. Not so blatant as a bad fish, but through the respectable channels of religion.