I was recently discussing with a friend of mine, who also has a Christian blog, as to how much abuse we take from fellow believers, because of the fact that we teach the truth. I actually almost feel that if I don’t get any abuse, I haven’t spoken the truth. Now I am not saying that we should intentionally upset people, but the truth will upset someone… As it does in the next chapter of Mark. Take a look at Mark 3, and then read my thoughts below.
Jesus is going about His ministry, when he meets a man with a deformed hand. It is a Sabbath, and Jesus knows that it will upset His critics if He heals the man. Now if this were me at this point, I would be thinking twice. You see I am all for healing, but I am also concerned with what people think of me, and sometimes these contradict each other. I live in the UK, but I was born and raised in South Africa, where we say what we mean and we mean what we say. In England, most people are way too polite, and say what they think others wish to hear, rather than what they truly believe. This has already got me into trouble a few times, and it now tries to hinder me from doing what I know is right. Is this something you struggle with? Jesus was faced with this exact predicament, in fact worse, they wanted to kill Him for what he was doing. What does Jesus do? He calls the man in front of everyone. Not only does He not hide it, He shows EVERYONE what He is about to do. Oh man, I could do a series on this, will we ever be that brave? Jesus then throws a spanner in their works, by asking them a question. “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?”
What a question. You see they can’t say that it is a day for doing evil, but saying that it is a day for doing good, gives Jesus ‘permission’ to heal. This is why they kept quiet and didn’t say a word. Here is the interesting part: why is leaving a man with a deformed hand ‘evil’? Here is my theory. People think that Jesus just came to bring us salvation, that is not true, let me explain. He came here to bring the Kingdom of God into the kingdom of darkness. He came here to defeat satan once and for all and to bring us back into fellowship with God. Does this include salvation? Yes, most definitely, but it includes other things too – healing and deliverance to name a couple. Now yes, we can argue that salvation is possibly the ‘most important’ as it is for eternity, and illness only lasts during this life time. That may be so, but if all of these things are included in the gift from God, why would you not want all of them? All of these things break into the kingdom of darkness with the Kingdom of God. If Jesus had left the man as he was, the Kingdom of God would have left the kingdom of darkness to prevail in that situation. If we don’t actively bring the Kingdom of God into a situation, the kingdom of darkness prevails. There is no neutral ground here, it is one or the other. Is this the day to save life or destroy it? Was Jesus saving a life, or merely healing a hand? I have already discussed Sodzo, so I believe that they are one and the same, read this post for more on that.
Jesus then goes on to heal some more people, so many in fact, they had to hire a boat so that Jesus would not get crushed by all the people coming for healing. Imagine if your church was overrun by crowds of people because they were all coming to be healed. That would be a sign of things going well. We settle for a few people each Sunday giving their lives to Jesus while all heads are bowed. Now I am not saying that this is not good, we all rejoice that someone else has now been saved, I am just saying that there is more. More of God’s power, more grace, more for us to do if we only had faith. Jesus chooses His 12, and gives them authority over demons (which we still have by the way, demons and the authority over them), so that we can also do what Jesus did. Do we even come close today? I don’t think so. Why? Probably because we are scared of what others may think. As we read the end of this chapter, Jesus was even accused of being ‘possessed by satan’. I have been accused of doing the ‘work of the devil’ because of my blog posts, to which I took a certain amount of comfort to know that Jesus has been accused of worse. You only get accused of such things by stepping out, not by going with the flow and being ‘vanilla’. That is not what the world needs, the world needs more people to bring the Kingdom of God into the kingdom of darkness. Your will on earth as it is in heaven.
Do I do this enough? No. Can I improve? Yes. Let’s do it then, let’s step out in faith, let’s be more concerned with doing what is right, rather than what people may think of us. Let’s be more like Jesus.
I’m all fired up now.