Category Archives: Miracles

Jesus Didn’t Wait Until Sunday

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own traditions that we miss the bigger point entirely.

The Jewish religious authorities in Jesus’ day had done this. In their effort to be holy…to cross the t’s and dot the i’s they had wrapped various commands in so many traditions that it was hard to tell what was Law/Torah and what was tradition.

Over time they became so dogmatic about their traditions that to break the tradition was as heinous as breaking the Law of Moses itself. They had confused their traditions with scripture and not without good intention, at first. If God says don’t work on the Sabbath then how do you know how much you can do without crossing the line? Tradition defines that. But tradition is just tradition. Why did God give them the Sabbath in the first place? What was the point of the Sabbath and do the traditions that have wrapped themselves around God’s Law stand consistent with the intent of the Law itself?

Jesus healed on the Sabbath. He could have waited a day (in keeping with the tradition). He could have waited a week…the people he healed on the Sabbath were never on the verge of death. If they had been, the traditions would have made provision for Jesus to have healed them. But non-life-threatning conditions had to wait until Sunday.

Jesus healed them anyway. Jesus healed them anyway because to heal them was to uphold the intent of the Sabbath (to be life giving) and to wait a day would actually be against the intent of the Sabbath (whitholding giving life and wholeness). Again, he could have waited. He could have been cognizant of their scruples and their conscience issues but Jesus did it directly to challenge their scruples and their matters of consceince because they needed to be challenged. Why? The intent of the Sabbath command was greater than the traditions and greater than their conscience issues. Their values had been so twisted over time that they undermined the intent of the Law itself. This had to be challenged for the Sabbath to have any meaning left.

What was the intent of the Sabbath? This is the gist of Jesus’ question in Mark 3:4, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?”

This gets to the heart of the intent of the Law itself, which the traditions missed entirely. In their effort to be obedient to God via tradition they were disobedient to the Law itself.

Now here is the sad ironies of sad ironies,

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.” – Mark 3:5-6

They were plotting to end life on the Sabbath because Jesus restored life, again, the very intention of the Sabbath day itself. It should have been cause for Messianic celebration to see the very purpose of the Sabbath fulfilled before their eyes. They couldn’t see it that way.

Jesus didn’t challenge tradition because it was tradition. He challenged these traditions because they weren’t spiritually neutral traditions. Their view of Sabbath had gone awry with the addition of their traditions so much so that they had the whole thing backwards.

Not every tradition needs to be challenged. Many traditions are good and helpful. But these kind of traditions need to be challenged and in instances like this the “weaker brother” conscience argument doesn’t work out. Jesus didn’t avoid violating their conscience on this matter only because it had gotten that bad and they only way to sort it out was for Jesus to directly challenge them on it.

What traditions do you see today that are beneficial and what traditions do you think do some harm (maybe in and of themselves or maybe due to misapplication)? Do you believe this still happens today? If so, how does one go about pushing against this in a way that honors God and is done in a spirit of love and respect?

Is This The Most Faith-Full Moment in Jesus’ Ministry?

When you say John 4 your first thought probably goes the woman at the well. There is another story in that chapter that I find one of the most moving and faith-full moments in the Gospels. I don’t know that I need to get into the business of comparing people’s faith. That just doesn’t seemContinue Reading

Why Did Jesus Heal the Guy Twice? The Importance of Context

In Mark 8 we get the story of a man Jesus healed twice. The first healing only enabled the man to see partially. The second healing allowed him to see clearly. What is going on in this story? Either Jesus’ power was a bit off that day or he was up to something. I voteContinue Reading

In Jesus’ Name – More Than Words

God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They wouldContinue Reading

Peter Took Him By the Right Hand and He Helped Him Up

3 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, heContinue Reading

Gospel of John 20 – The Empty Tomb

1Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of theContinue Reading

John 9 – Mud in the Eyes Christians

After reading and re-reading the story of the man born blind in John 9 today I am struck by the power and authority of Jesus combined with the blind man’s willing obedience. Our faith is a partnership of unequals. We can’t even take credit for listening and doing because without his command we wouldn’t haveContinue Reading

Gospel of John 4:43-54 A Big Request

43After the two days he left for Galilee. 44(Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 45When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there. 46Once moreContinue Reading

God Parts the Red Sea

God parting the Red Sea is always a VBS favorite. But it is still one of my favorites as an adult. As I was reading this a couple of weeks a ago a few things struck me that I had never thought about before. Here is the text (Exo 14:10-31): “As Pharaoh approached, the IsraelitesContinue Reading

Outreach and Reputation Risking

It never seemed to bother Jesus if his reputation was at stake when it came to reaching the lost: – Speaking with adulterous Samaritan women at a well alone. – Having his feet annointed by a woman with a checkered past. – Eating with tax collectors and “sinners.” – Associating with and even healing Gentiles.Continue Reading

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