October 20, 2010

Nameless But Notable V: Overexertion On The Sabbath

"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." Mark 3:1-6

Why did the man come to the synagogue? Did he come in an honest attempt to worship? Did he come in the thin hope that the "Miraculous Healer" would be there to heal his shriveled hand. Did he realize that he would be used by the conniving Sadducees and Pharisees to try and "expose" Jesus' violation of the Sabbath?

The legalists were out in force this day (Pharisees). They actually ask Jesus, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" (Matthew 12:10) Jesus responds with a biting rhetorical question, "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." (Matthew 12:11-12). Jesus then tells the man to stretch out his hand and Jesus instantly restored it and it was sound just like his other hand.

The Pharisees reaction? They wanted to kill Jesus so badly they plotted how they might go about it. Who was really working on the Sabbath here? Seriously. I imagine they expended much more energy on that Sabbath to work against Jesus and plot his death as opposed to Jesus simply asking a man to extent his hand to get it healed. I can imagine these shrewd snakes were breaking out in sweats trying to formulate an acceptable murderous plan. You also begin to see just how hardened the hearts can become in evil men and how twisted their thinking. There is absolutely no inkling in the text that these men saw their hypocrisy (as was always the case with the Jewish leaders in their confrontations with Jesus). They do not seem to see the contradiction in their actions as opposed to the accusations they level against Christ. They are blind as a bat.

What is disappointing in this episode is the man with the shriveled and the Jesus healed. He takes no stand either way in this situation. He knew what had been done for him yet he appears to have stayed neutral. How many believers do we know like this? They know the power of God. They have seen Him work mighty and powerful deeds in their lives to their benefit...and they are either ashamed of professing His name or they inadvertently keep him a secret. How can believers do that and still call themselves believers? Doesn't the fact the many people are loosing there eternal salvation due to never hearing the Gospel convict these people? I'm sorry but this is one of the very first things that shot onto my radar when I became a believer. If I could've been duped by the world for so long thinking "good was good enough", how many millions of others think/thought the same? Knowing the truth and knowing others don't shuld break poeple's hearts that love their fellow human beings. This should convict people and if it doesn't I seriously question if these folks have a heart for Christ or the mind of Christ. As Christ said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself." All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Who's your neighbor?

The one you need to have mercy on...

Who needs more mercy and sympathy than one who is lost and does not believe and is doomed to damnation and eternal seperation from our Holy God?

Because this nameless benefactor of Jesus' miracle had no real opinion on on the miracle or Jesus per se, he basically allowed himself to be manipulated and used as a tool for evil. It is an excellent example of one who can have enough faith to be healed but just enough moral ambivalence or apathy to be used for purposes against the kingdom. Had he cared and spoke up he could've been an excellent witness to countless others. Instead he can be used only in hindsight as an example for other reasons, some of which do not put him in a good light. Instead of being a gleaming beacon of faith be becomes a dim flashlight locked away in a dark room.

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