Year 3 Day 143
Read - Mark 3:1-6
Message - Alan Burke
“First posted Year 2 Day 67 - 28th May“
As a child the most hated day of my week was a… can you guess? It wasn’t a Monday when I had to start the school week, it was a Sunday. It just dragged, you couldn’t do anything on a Sunday, it was boring, drawn out, going to worship wasn’t that bad but it was everything else, you couldn’t hum, whistle, it was the only day of the week men had to do the dishes, you couldn’t cut your nails but for some reason men could still shave, you couldn’t watch TV unless it was Songs of Praise, Countryfile or the news, and you couldn’t wear jeans, there were lots of things that you couldn’t do and many of those things could get you a cauliflower ear if you did them. Well the Pharisees had thirty nine categories for work that you couldn’t do on the sabbath, it made the list of what I could and couldn’t do on a Sunday seem quite mundane by their standards. Here once more the problem is their religion not the law.
Jesus entered the synagogue, and the peoples eyers were upon him, they wanted to see what he was going to do. It’s like a set up, entrapment, they had already heard and seen him healing people, what would he do now? Knowing this Jesus does something that’s like picking a fight, that was confrontational. He gets the man to stand up in front of everyone and asks… “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?”. Obviously it is to do good, to save a life, yet there was silence, you could have heard a pin drop, nothing, they knew what was right, but if they had answered it would have meant that they would have to acknowledge his authority to heal on the sabbath.
Jesus looks at them in anger and distress in their stubborn hearts, don’t miss that Jesus was angry, and the told the man to stretch out his hand. Jesus had in effect restored this mans life, given his life back to him. Jesus had done good, he had saved a life on the sabbath, look though to the response of the Pharisees, the went out verse 6 with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. The sabbath was given for the well being of man yet these men went of to conspire to kill, what irony is this. The withered hand of the man is nothing compared to the withered souls of these religious examiners. It did not dawn on them, that if Jesus words are not in accord with God’s will, the man would not have been healed, since it is God who forgives sins and brings healing. These Pharisees were in the presence of the one that they had been waiting for, their Lord, the bridegroom, the Lord of the sabbath had come and they are so blinded by their religion they couldn’t see it.
Today religion does the same thing, people can become so blinded by their religiosity that they can’t see Jesus. Life that is filled with religion, but is not filled with the Saviour Jesus Christ. We can all be blinded by religion, and we all need to repent and believe, look to Jesus the Bridegroom of his Church comes to bring you joy, look to Jesus the Lord of the sabbath who comes to bring you grace and mercy, that is what you need, not religion.
I want to leave you with how the Sabbath was ‘made for man and not man for the Sabbath’ (27). The Sabbath is a gracious gift from God, it is not and should not be burdensome obligation, it was given for our benefit, not to do what we like with, to treat it like any other day, rather it is because we need a Sabbath, we need rest. Our society seeks to normalise the Sabbath, make it like any other day but physically, mentally, spiritually we need it, God gives us one day in seven, before the fall God gave us this day, His day for our benefit and as a response we should worship and thank him for his gracious gift of rest. Our sabbath is a Sunday, is to be sanctified, set apart as a day of rest, let us uses it for what it was meant for, to reconnect with the holy and recharge our spiritual batteries instead of being conformed to the world around us.
Q24 How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?
Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, by his word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation. (John 1:18, 1 Pet. 1:10–12, John 15:15, John 20:31)