In my last post, we looked at how Jesus confronted the attack of religion against His ministry. Today we’ll see another aspect of that battle.
Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath.
I always read this account with amazement. I can’t fathom the thinking process of the Pharisees.
I understand that they were starting to be annoyed by Jesus’ ministry. I even understand how they were looking for a way to discredit Him. But to use healing as the vehicle, doesn’t make sense to me.
In my last post, I talked about the traditions that the Pharisees had to bring more detail to the definition of work. They had a lot of man-made rules concerning healing. It’s the work of a doctor to heal so no work of healing could be performed on the Sabbath.
For instance, it was illegal to drink wine on the Sabbath, if you had a toothache. That’s because if the alcohol in the wine deadened the pain in your tooth, it would be considered healing.
That’s all well and good for a doctor. But there’s a huge flaw in their argument when they apply it to the Messiah.
Jesus didn’t work to bring about a cure in the natural sense. He was able to flow in the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ ministry, it was God who healed the sick.
Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
It’s obvious from the above details that the healing was supernatural. Jesus did absolutely no work to accomplish it.
That tells me that religion is blind to everything but its own ends. It claims that it’s trying to serve God. The actual truth is that religion is bent on proving its own superiority over anyone else.
They claim that by keeping the Sabbath pure from work, they’re following God’s will. God, on the other hand, healed this man; proving that He had no problem with healing on the Sabbath. Religion actually has the audacity to say that they’re more holy than God!
Unfortunately, this kind of thinking even creeps into the church. Paul describes it this way…
…having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
2 Timothy 3:5
Religion couldn’t care less about the power of God in operation. It’s the form that’s more important. How you look and what others think about you. Powerlessness is okay, as long as people think that we have a more superior walk of “righteousness”.
Unfortunately, it’s merely a form of self-righteousness. It doesn’t impress God, and it doesn’t help those around us.
Our goal should be a spiritual walk. Spending time in the spirit, listening for the voice of the Father, then, obeying what we hear. That’s the example that Jesus leaves us with.
Question: Why do so many choose form over power?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi