Monday, February 28, 2011

The Man with the Withered Hand

This morning I was reading in Luke 6. I have been going through the gospels one chapter a day, trying to go slow and actually dig into what it is saying. This morning I was struck by the story of the man with the withered hand. Jesus goes into the synagogue to teach on the Sabbath.
Right away, a verse that stuck out to me was verse 7. It says this, "And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him." Lots of people watched and observed Jesus. Most of them watched and followed Jesus because they were blown away by his teaching, his healing power, and his compassion for people. But I couldn't help but notice the reason the Pharisees were watching Jesus: to find a reason to accuse him. The Pharisees had completely missed the point of watching and following Jesus. They had hardened their hearts and couldn't see the awesomeness of who Jesus was. This can be seen in how they responded to the miracle.
Jesus calls us this man who had a withered hand. I can't imagine what that looked like or what kind of disease would do that to a person but his hand was messed up. The Pharisees wanted to accuse Jesus of working on the Sabbath so I love how Jesus heals this guy: "And after looking around at them all he said to him, 'Stretch out your hand.' And he did so, and his hand was restored." (vs. 10)
Jesus didn't break the Sabbath here. Speaking a word was not breaking the Sabbath and neither was stretching out your hand! So Jesus healed this man without giving the Pharisees any reason to accuse him! I love it! But the sad thing is the Pharisees reaction to the miracle. It says they were filled with fury and discussed what they were going to do to Jesus.
Sometimes I wonder if any of the Pharisees came to their senses and realized who Jesus truly was. We know of one, named Nicodemus, who had questioned Jesus but actually brought myrhh and helped take away Jesus' body. But were there others? I hope so. And even today, are there modern day Pharisees who are missing the point of Jesus' coming by making Christianity about rules and regulations? Are they watching people to accuse them instead of lifting them up. Stuff to think about.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blogging is Hard

So it has been a long time since I have blogged anything. And I find blogging to be kind of hard to keep up with. But I am making an effort, starting next week to actually get back into it! So look forward to that!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Finished Matthew!

Just a few days ago I finished the book of Matthew. I had been going through a chapter at a time, going slowly and really trying to understand and dive in to what Jesus taught and the enormity of his sacrifice for us. If you have never gone slowly through a book of the Bible before, I would encourage you to do that! Super rewarding!

Now I begin the book of Mark. I took a class on Mark a few semesters back so I am excited to dive in and see what Mark has to say about Jesus' ministry. Already I can see writing styles that are different and how Matthew and Mark choose to focus on different aspects of Jesus' life.

As I read chapter 3 today one section really stuck out to me. In verse 21 it says, "And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, 'He is out of his mind.'" It is amazing to me that Jesus' own family thought he was crazy and did not believe that he was the Son of God. John 7:5 says, "For not even his brothers believed in him." Jesus' family, who he had grown up with for 30 years had not seen the truth that Jesus was in fact the Son of God. Maybe because Jesus was their brother, he had grown up with them; maybe it was out of jealousy; whatever the reason, his family chose to believe he was out of his mind instead of realizing the truth of his identity.

Even though it is sad that Jesus' family thought he was crazy there is a redeeming aspect of it. James, Jesus' brother wrote one of the books we have in our Bible. The book of James was written by James, the brother of Jesus. And I love the starting verse in chapter 1 of James, "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ." Even though James had grown up with Jesus, had rejected Jesus' statements about himself, he came to understand and realize Jesus was the Son of God. That is pretty cool!

How does that apply to my life today? Maybe there are people in my own life that are like Jesus' family: they think Jesus was crazy or even that I am crazy for believing in Him. But just like James, maybe they just need time to realize that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. God has definitely been teaching me lately that faith sometimes just doesn't happen overnight and it takes people time to come to a knowledge of the identity and sacrifice of Jesus. We can only keep praying that our friends and family who don't follow Jesus will have happen what happened to James, the brother of Jesus, when he chose to confess that Jesus was our Lord!