Good Morning Saints!
Among the worshippers in the Synagogue was a man with a withered hand. This is the obvious compelling need. What isn’t as obvious is the greater compelling need of the religious elite in attendance. Whereas one man had a withered hand, several of the leading men of Judaism had withered hearts.
From the outside, these men were the definition of a fully functioning religious Jew. Others would see them as the standard to strive for. However, underneath the beautiful exterior of piety and behavioral management lay an ugly, ungodly wickedness that was more vile than that of others whose vileness was open for all to see.
This is the paradox of “appearance” VS “reality”.
TRUTH POINT #1: Man values outward appearance, external conformity to rules and regulations. God values inner character created by one’s continual submission to His transforming work of the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
This was obvious to Jesus so He makes a dramatic visual case that He had more than enough to meet every need, both external and internal.
Jesus knew what the Pharisees were thinking. They were not at the Synagogue to worship, to minister to anyone’s need, to help the people understand the Scriptures. They were focused on Jesus, looking for any fault concerning the Sabbath of which they could use against Him.
What happens next causes me to ask this question:
The miracle Jesus performed, was it for the benefit of the man with the withered hand, or was it to give irrefutable evidence of His Messiahship to these religious, but unbelieving leaders?
First, and foremost, the miracle was for the benefit of the glory of God The Father. Everything Jesus said or did had that purpose behind it. One of the ways Jesus glorified The Father was by showing people what the Kingdom of God looked like. As Jesus preached in Nazareth, under the full rule and reign of God’s Kingdom…
· the poor receive the riches of the gospel,
· the brokenhearted are healed,
· captives are delivered,
· blind receive sight,
· the oppressed are set free.
Take Note: the existence of poverty, broken-heart’s, captivity, blindness and oppression is due to Adam, abdicating his God given dominion over the earth, to Satan. Adam’s fall resulted in Satan establishing an upside-down kingdom in which through sin, he subjugated humanity to himself.
In no small way, part of Jesus’ work is reestablishing God’s right-side-up Kingdom so that creation, especially redeemed humanity, can flourish in physical, mental and spiritual health, as was God’s original design.
TRUTH POINT #2: When Jesus restored this man’s withered hand, it wasn’t just a medical miracle. It was an occurrence of the Kingdom of God breaking through the kingdom of Satan, bringing its restorative power to a man trapped by the curse of sin and death.
This miracle was done also with the intent of giving those who sat atop the religious establishment of Judaism, irrefutable evidence that God’s Messiah, The King of His Kingdom, was on the scene.
To appreciate this we must see this picture with our minds eye.
· The room is crowded
· The Pharisee’s have front row seats, as was the custom
· Jesus calls the man with the withered hand forward and places him in close proximity to the Pharisees.
· He asks these leaders a question about the Sabbath… is it acceptable to God’s Law to do good or evil on the Sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?
It’s a question they dare not answer…
· if they say it is acceptable to do good, then they have no way to accuse Jesus.
· if they say bad, not only would that be false, but they would come out looking like the bad guy.
Could it be that the question was’nt meant to be answered? Perhaps it was meant to get them contemplating what they were there for. To think about the incongruity of their intentions in light of their position as representatives of God.
Jesus addressed the man saying: “Stretch out your hand.” Notice that Jesus didn’t touch the man in any way, He didn’t even speak words of healing. He simply asked him to stretch out his withered hand and when he did his hand became whole. Right there in front of the Judaism’s leadership, what is utterly impossible for man to do, happened before their eyes.
They saw the man’s lifeless, worthless hand restored to life, health and strength. WHO BUT GOD COULD DO THIS?
This was more than an opportunity for a withered hand to be restored, it was an opportunity for withered hearts to be restored. In the face of such irrefutable evidence, how could they not believe?
But they didn’t! Instead One man was Delivered, and Many were Disturbed!
TRUTH POINT #3: There is NO middle ground with Jesus. He either becomes your Deliverer or your Disturber. One is either awakened and redeemed by the gospel or they remain dead in their sin, repelled by the absolute truth claim of the gospel.
In this case, one man was delivered while many were disturbed and resolute to shut Jesus down. Whatever the cost!
What about you? Have you been delivered by Jesus or does His message disturb you? I get it…
· It can be disturbing to admit that you are a sinner. No one wants to think they are a bad person.
· It can be disturbing to accept that we cannot, by our own power and choices, make ourselves acceptable to God.
· It can be disturbing to be asked to repent (turn from) of our personal sin and to embrace Jesus in Faith.
But I pray YOU will get this today:
· Being delivered from the guilt and curse of sin is a beautiful, freeing thing.
· To know that all condemnation against your sin has been removed by faith in Jesus, is a breath of fresh air.
· To know that you’ve become a son or daughter of God and a joint heir with Jesus in the riches of the Kingdom of God, that’s thrilling!
· To know that your time on earth is the only “hell” you will ever know. That’s reassuring.
It’s not God’s desire or intention that the good news of Jesus Christ disturb you, but that it delivers you. Sadly however, the reality is that for the majority, the gospel is disturbing and only the few find its deliverance. Matthew 7:13-14
If Jesus has been disturbing you, turn from your pride and self will and let Him become your Deliverer.
The Mission Church is committed to serving God by making disciples in the Des Moines area.
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