Watching & Waiting
Did you ever see something happen and you knew it was going to result in a BIG argument or issue? When you were a kid, you saw your sibling break a lamp with a soccer ball (I may speak from experience), and you just knew when mom and dad got home things were going to get crazy. You went into the kitchen made some popcorn, took a seat and just waited for the dram to unfold. You knew what was coming.
In Mark, there is a story of a group of Pharisees (religious leaders) waiting in a synagogue. Here they are waiting and watching, they have seen Jesus at work and know that He is going to do something. So they get their popcorn, take a seat and watch.
Mark 3:1-2 " Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand. 2 Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.”
These Pharisees have created a law, the Sabbath. This was something God first provided to His people, but now they have taken it and created a monster. The Sabbath was something God created to help humankind not neglect a relationship with God, get preoccupied with their own abilities and accomplishments, and to neglect relationships with friends and family. This is a good thing. But man created a law that became overpowering.
LOVE IS GREATER THAN THE LAW
The Pharisees lost this, don’t do this. Go back to God’s heart, back to his desire, love.
Mark 3:3-4 "3 Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” 4 Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him.”
Here it is… Straight from Jesus. Has this law become something more important than God’s nature? The Sabbath, a day of rest is more important than love? Salvation? Redemption? And Jesus explains to a group of people caught up in the law that they are misled. They are focusing on the wrong things. These recommendations are good for you but don’t make these into rules that can’t be broken.
Mark 3:5-6 "5 He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! 6 At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus.”
Jesus sees that these Pharisees won’t recognize and repent. But they continue to keep the law as their primary focus, and it says He is angered and saddened. These people are so close to recognizing Jesus. But if they won’t let go of the law for the love of Jesus, they will continue down a road of destruction.
We have this same issue, and we must heed the warning. Are you living up to a specific set of rules? And as you live up to the rules, you feel as if you are in right standing? You go to church every week (except for a few but God knows), you pray just before you eat (those 3 sentence prayers are keeping you close to God), you even listen to Christian radio (suffering for the Lord). And because of these things you think you are living according to God’s direction. And those that don’t fit your mold, the mold you created or was created for you by others are not living a righteous life. They are lost and sinners.
Have you gotten lost in the rules and actions that you forgot the more significant point, Jesus? Don’t miss Jesus. Don’t miss the relationship He calls each of us too. Don’t miss what Jesus makes essential. Love God and love others.
SHARE THE LOVE