Another time Jesus 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 (Mark 3:1-2).
When I read the story of the woman “caught in the act” of adultery (John 8:1ff) I get the impression the whole thing was staged. In other words, I don’t think they just “happened” to catch her. I think it was a setup (more on that another time).
But I don’t get the impression a “setup” is what is happening in Mark 3. It is simply a confluence of events. Certain things were going to happen at a certain time. The Pharisees and Herodians simply determined they would use them for their own purpose.
They knew it was the Sabbath. They knew where the crippled man would be on the Sabbath. They knew Jesus was in town. They knew where he would be on the Sabbath – gathering with God’s people (Luke says it was Jesus’ “custom” – Luke 4:16). They knew what Jesus would do upon meeting the crippled man.
Which leads me to this: Our lives, like that of Jesus, should have a bit of predictability about them. In particular, when God’s people gather, everyone should be able to count on us gathering too. And folks who know us should be able to tell how we will react to situations we encounter – always like Jesus.