Following the Rules


Sometimes we can get so caught up in our rules and regulations, we end up loving them more than we love our neighbors. We end up loving them more than we love God. We can love our rules and regulations so much that we spend all our time and energy trying to enforce them instead of spending it doing good things for ourselves and others.
The Pharisees are the shining example our over amplified religious zeal in the bible. They loved the law, the rules and the regulations more than God or people. In other words, the missed the entire point of the rules and regulations they loved so much.
We have an example of this in this story of Jesus healing on the sabbath. Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand. 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.


Jesus’ enemies are watching him closely. Not just in the synagogue, but they would actually follow Him around on Sabbath days, watching to see if He would do something to break the sabbath laws. At the beginning of Luke chapter 6 it says – “One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples broke off heads of grain, rubbed off the husks in their hands, and ate the grain. But some Pharisees said, “Why are you breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?”” Luke‬ ‭6:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬. So we can see that they are following Him around on the sabbath so they could “witness” a crime committed by Jesus and testify against Him. Why? Because working on the sabbath was punishable by death. They were trying desperately to find a reason to kill Him, even at this early point.

Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” 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?”
Now Jesus is directly defying the Pharisees, challenging them. We know who is doing the good deed on the sabbath. Who is doing evil?? While Jesus was trying to help the life of the man with the withered hand, the Pharisees here were trying to destroy Him. Apparently doing the work of enforcing their sabbath rules didn’t count as breaking the sabbath. Actively following Jesus around trying to catch Him breaking sabbath rules was fine. Using that same energy to help another human being was punishable by death.



But they wouldn’t answer him. 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! At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus.
We get a glimpse of the emotion of Jesus – he was saddened by their hard hearts, their stubbornness. It’s funny how Jesus is always able to silence their unholy spirits of accusation by doing good. Just as he silenced the evil spirit in Mark chapter 1 – “Jesus cut him short. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him.” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭1:25-26‬ ‭NLT‬‬. Just as He silenced this evil spirit, He silenced the evil spirits in those trying to kill Him by doing His good works, by putting helping and saving lives over following all the rules and regulations. The problem with the Pharisees was that they used the bible as proof for their own way of looking at the world. They read the scriptures from a stance of fitting the bible into their views, instead of adjusting their views to what they found there.

That is what puts them in the ironic position here of plotting to kill a man who could routinely eliminate uncleanness and disability, all in the name of their own holiness and purity. It is this same spirit found in many churches that leads to decades of secrets and shame instead victory and healing.  The same spirit that keeps people hidden behind walls instead of sharing their hurts and finding recovery.

“Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand. 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. Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” 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. 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! At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus.”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭3:1-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

http://bible.com/116/mrk.3.1-6.nlt

John Lewis

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Following the Rules

    1. You’re right Rick!! Baptists ridicule Catholics ridicule Lutherans ridicule Presbyterians ridicule Anglicans…and so on. We’ve all got our per passages that back up what we believe, that show we are “right”. When the truth is that we are all just broken sinners in need of mercy. Thank you!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s