Don't be a Speed Bump!
We are so blessed at Harvest Bible Chapel, Hickory to have a pastor who teaches us the Bible and convicts us to follow God's Word. Today's post is from Pastor Kurt Gebhards' sermon today, continuing in his study from the Gospel of Mark:
Mark 3:1-6 1 Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 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. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” 4 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. 5 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. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
So far in the Gospel of Mark the Pharisees have attacked Jesus 4 times. This is the
5th. The Holy Spirit uses repetition to teach us a lesson. And this lesson is that the Pharisees were hard hearted, but we are to have soft hearts that can be shaped by His instruction.
The first time they attacked Him they said He was blasphemous. The second time, that He was a friend of sinners. The third time, that He was different from their laws and the fourth, that He was a Sabbath breaker.
This time, He is a renegade healer!
The Pharisees showed their hard hearts by constantly looking at Him with a critical eye. They were always judging Him because of their pride. They were always looking for a reason that they might accuse Him. In fact Jesus rebuked them in Matthew 23 by telling them that they were so focused on the little bits and pieces, but totally missing that God’s work for His people is giving Him their hearts; fully and freely.
The Pharisees wanted to destroy Him. They were so blinded by their self-righteousness they couldn’t see that what they were trying to stop was healing, love, mercy and grace!
There is reason to believe that this might have been a set up. Usually a man with a withered hand, or any physical defect, would have kept away from the synagogue. At the very least he would have hidden his hand. Yet Jesus knew immediately what was wrong with the man.
They hated Him for the question He asked, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save a life or to kill?” Of course it’s right to do good and not harm. How could they answer any differently? But the reason they were silent and angry was because while the first half of the question (about doing good or harm on the Sabbath) had to do with healing the man with the withered hand, the second part (about saving a life or killing) had to do with their plotting to kill Him. He knew what they were thinking and He let them know He knew!
The Pharisees reacted the wrong way. When the Word of God exposes our heart, we must step in to it in humbleness. Proverbs 12:1 says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid."
We need to receive the wisdom of the rebuke!
This passage also teaches us more about Jesus. That He is merciful and felt grief. Jesus could have healed this man on another day. But, in His mercy He healed him right then. His mercy cost him. Just as His mercy for our salvation cost Him His life on the cross! We worship a God who is merciful to the point of personal cost!
But the funny thing is. He didn’t break the Pharisee’s Sabbath law because He didn’t lift anything and He didn’t work! He merely said to the man, “Stretch out your hand” and when the man did his hand was restored! Just by Christ’s thought! That is His power!
But they hated Him all the more for it. When you are hard hearted, nothing satisfies. Our lesson as the church is: we must be merciful! We must be focused on Christ and His purposes. Individually we must ask ourselves, “Who can I bless? Who can I minister to? Who can I bring God’s kindness and His grace to?”
We also need to ask ourselves if we are helping others find God or are we speed bumps in their journey. The Pharisees were speed bumps! Jesus hated hypocrites. If we say we are for God, but don’t live like it, we are hypocrites. Serving with a bad attitude is hypocritical. Gossip, slander and dismissiveness all impede people from coming to Christ. We need to lay down our lives in humility, so that others are drawn to Christ.
Christians, if you take the name of Christ, are you acting like Him?
Don’t be a speed bump!