Day Eight with Mark: Mark 3:1-6

Today we take a look at Mark 3:1-6.  This is entitled The Man with a Withered Hand

The Man with a Withered Hand
3 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” 4 Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

Christ_heals_tne_man_with_paralysed_handWe see Jesus heal a man on the Sabbath.  Remember, this is after His teaching on the Sabbath and religion, religion is a good thing, but it doesn’t save.  Only Jesus saves.  The text here says that people were watching to see if He would heal, not to celebrate that someone was healed, but so that they may accuse Him.

Also, notice in verse 5, Jesus gets angry.  Did you expect to see that?  Two things.  First, being “angry” is not a sin.  If getting angry was a sin, then Jesus just sinned, and we know that Jesus didn’t sin. So, there are times in our lives when are going to get angry.

So, here’s the second thing, and a question.  What is it that makes us angry?  Why are we angry.  For Jesus, it is when people are harmed or abused.  When people are harmed or abused, we should be angry.  We should be angry at sin.  At things that are destructive.  We should be angry when children and families are endangered.  We should be angry at things that destroy.  But never act out of vengeance.  Be angry, but do not sin.

I want to unpack for you why the Pharisees were so against Jesus healing on the Sabbath and seemed to be a constant trouble to Jesus.  Believe it or not, they meant well.  They were trying to do what they thought was wrong, but man oh man, did they miss it.

To understand this, we’ve got to go back in the Old Testament. We see in Genesis 12, God called Abraham.  And we see what God promises him.  A land and a people (and that he will be a blessing to all the earth).

As we move forward through the Old Testament, in the Law and the Covenant, we see this Word over and over again to the people.  If you keep the covenant, you keep the land.  If don’t, you will lose it. And that’s what happened. The people didn’t keep the law, and ultimately the nation of Israel divided to the northern kingdom Israel (which was destroyed by Assyria) and the southern kingdom Judah (which was destroyed by Babylon).

Babylon took from Jerusalem the young, the brightest, the smartest, and brought them to Babylon with the intent of making them Babylonian.  That’s where the book of Daniel happened, it’s where Ezekiel wrote his prophecy, Psalm 137 was written then, and then Ezra and Nehemiah chronicles the process of restoration after the Babylonian exile.

What happened during the exile was a group of religious leaders rose up and said this (I’m paraphrasing).  Ok, y’all, last time we were home, we didn’t keep the law. And look what happened. We lost everything. So, when we get back, we are going to keep the law. We are going to keep our promises to God. And we will make sure the do it right. That’s where the Pharisees came from.

And you know what? What they wanted to do was a good thing. They wanted the people to keep their promises. They wanted people to keep the law. They wanted people to be true. But they guided by fear. They were afraid of what would happen when people broke the law.

So, we see Jesus heal on the Sabbath, which they considered work. And the law is clear.  Do not work on the Sabbath (by the way, they had built extra laws that would define what “work” was, how far you could walk, things such as that).  So instead of celebration that someone was healed, they would say YOU BROKE THE SABBATH!  REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME WE DID THIS!  YOU CAN’T DO THAT!

Their intent started off good. But what happened was this. They mistook the law for God.  The focused more on their man-made laws than they did the revelation of God – Jesus Christ – standing in front of them.

They were guided by fear.  And that’s a dangerous, dangerous thing.  They were actually trying (in their own way) to honor God. But they missed the point.

And that can be a reminder to us today that truly want to worship God and honor Him. Let’s keep the main thing the main thing.  Let’s focus on following Jesus. And let’s do all that we can do to bring glory to His name.

What questions do you have?  How does this strike you?  Shoot me an email, comment below, or connect with me through social media.

Monday we’ll look at Mark 3:7-11.

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God Will Not Give Up on You

Have you ever read through any of the Old Testament prophets?  There’s a lot going on there. They are some of my favorite books of the Bible.  When you read them, you see a similar pattern.  The people have done something wrong, something that they should have not.

God says, you will be punished for your sin.  The sins that God normally punishes the most (or really seems the most upset with) are idolatry and how the poor are treated.  Those two come down to what Jesus told us to do – love God and love our neighbor.

If we love God, we won’t worship idols, we won’t place other things above Him.  He will be first in our lives.

If we love our neighbor, we will help our neighbors, we will care for them, we will do right by them and for them.

When the people of God in the Old Testament didn’t do right, they were then punished.

Boy, this sounds great, doesn’t it!  But that’s not why I love the prophets. Why I love the prophets comes next. After those things, God always says – I love.  I can’t destroy you.  You are mine, I made you, I can’t forsake you.  I will redeem you.  Today’s reading in Isaiah 54: 7-10 is a great example:

For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing anger for a moment
I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the Lord, your Redeemer.
“This is like the days of Noah[a] to me:
as I swore that the waters of Noah
should no more go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you,
and will not rebuke you.
For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

2013-01-22-08-44-431God says – my steadfast love will not depart. Through mountains and hills are moved, though these things may fail, may be destroyed may be no more, my steadfast love will not depart.

God will not leave us.  He will not forsake us.  No matter what.  He is for us.  He is with us.  He is our friend, our rock, our Savior, our God.  Do not fear.  Do not quake.  Do not give up, give in, quit, or let go.

God will not give up on you.  He won’t.

Though all the things of this life my fail.  God’s steadfast love for you will not depart.

His covenant will not be removed.

He will show compassion.  He will.  He always has.  He always will.  Don’t doubt that truth today. God will not forsake you.  God will not give up on you.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Teach the Faith

One of the the things I love most about the Old Testament is the command of God to teach the faith to the children.  One of the responsibilities of the adults, of the parents, of the grandparents, the aunts, the uncles of children is to teach them the faith. Teach them the stories of their faith.  Teach them what is true.

They were commanded to teach the children.  Listen to what is says in Deuteronomy 6:4-7:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

faf76c7c603532b7e54b1072ef985f9eThis is a passage that’s known to the Jewish people as the Shema which is the center of the their faith, a they are reminded to know this truth, to teach this truth, to pass this truth to their children.

As Christians, that’s our story too; that’s our call too.  As Paul explains to us in Galatians (and all over) that the Old Testament is our story as well; so many things in the Old Testament point to Jesus.  We are called to love the Lord our God with all of our hear, our soul, and our might.  We are called to love God with all that we are.

And we are called to teach that to others.  To our children.  To those that are new to the faith. To other believers. We are called to share what God has done for us.  We are called to share our faith.  Our hope.  Our love. We are called to pass along what God has done for us.  And what God is doing for us.

We are called to pass along that which is true. God is good.  He loves us.  He longs to know us.  He died to save us.  He was resurrected. And will come again.  We believe this.  We must pass it down to others.

And we must pass along to other what God has done for us.  We must teach the faith.

Has God done something for you?  Tell someone.  Share with someone.  Pass it along.

We learn, so we can share.  May we do that today and each day.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Christmas Lights

tyThere’s a cool house down the road from my house here in Petal that’s got a programmed Christmas light show.   You can pull up to their house, turn your car radio to a certain station, listen to the music, and see the lights flash in rhythm to the songs being played.

It’s pretty cool.

I’ve always been a sucker for Christmas lights. I remember as young child that was always one of my favorite things to do, to go with the family and look at Christmas lights.  Loved it then, love it now.  That’s one of the many reasons why I love this time of year.

I thought about that, as I read today’s reading from Job 33: 29-30:

“Behold, God does all these things, twice, three times, with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be lighted with the light of life.

I talked yesterday about how God has a plan in all this.  God knows what He is doing and He has a plan, not just for all our lives, but for creation, redemption, and all the world.  I think of that again when I read what it says in Job.  God will bring us back from the pit. And they will be lighted with the light of life.

Even those those words were spoken to Job, who do I think of when I read that?

The one that it talks about in John 1: 4-5:

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Jesus.  He is the light.  He is the light that overcomes the darkness.  He is the light of the world. And He is the light of of lives.

Think about that during Christmas.  Think of that during light shows. Think about during all this time.  Light has come. And that light is Jesus.  Remember.  Remember that.

Light has come.  And light WILL drive out the darkness.


Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

God Knows What He is Doing

I love the Old Testament.  I really do.  Right now, I’m reading a great book entitled Jesus on Every Page, which talks about how as Christians, the Old Testament, and the stories of the Old Testament, they are ours. They belong to us as well, and they paint a picture of God’s long term plan of redemption for His people.

God knows what He is doing. And He has a plan for saving His people, that was around, long before us.  God has a plan.  Listen to what the angel tells Mary today in Luke 1: 30-33:

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

trustJesus will sit on the throne of His father David.  He is from the tribe of Judah, the ancestor of David.

God promised David, way back in the Old Testament, that He would establish David’s kingdom, and it would last forever. That it would be an eternal kingdom.

Well, He wasn’t talking about an earthly kingdom, but a heavenly.

That was God’s plan, from the beginning. God knows what He is doing.

Long term, for the world. And for us. For me, for you.  God knows what He is doing.  He has a plan.  He has a will.  He knows what is going to happen. And He directs us where we need to be.

So, today, trust.  God knows what He is doing.  He really does. We see the foundations for God’s plan in Jesus Christ, being laid as far back as the fall, in Genesis 3:15 where He promises this:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

An offspring from Eve would one day crush the head of the serpent. Even in the fall, God was pointing the way towards what Jesus would do.

God knows what He is doing.  He does.

You can trust Him today.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.