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. (Mark 3:5-6).
Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened (Mark 6:51-52).
These two stories are tied together by two words translated as “stubborn” (or hardened) “hearts.”
In the first, Jesus did what his opponents thought he shouldn’t do, and for that transgression of orthodoxy, they were willing to kill him.
In the second, Jesus refused to do what his disciples thought he ought to do. They were equally “put out” with Jesus – though perhaps not enough to kill him.
In both, hardheartedness — a determination to have one’s own way — separates from Christ. Of all the gospel writers, Mark is hardest on the disciples. Were I one of the twelve, reading Mark would have been embarrassing. I surely would think: “If only I had known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have behaved that way!” And I think that was Mark’s goal: to tell us now what we will come to learn later so that we won’t be embarrassed when we finally see it on our own. God’s way is best. Better I should seek His will now rather than my own and content myself with His leading. Wherever He is taking me, it will be better than anywhere I can go without Him.