Summary: In this account of Jesus healing a man's hand on the Sabbath, we see there was more than the man's hand in need of healing.
Healing More Than Hands Mark 3:1-6
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who was intent on simply arguing with you rather than listening to you? When that happens do you feel like the person is waiting to get a word in edge wise? (EDGE WISE) do you feel trapped? These folks aren’t really interested in having a conversation with you are they? They are interested getting their point across. You just hate to see them coming don’t you?
I would imagine that’s how Jesus felt whenever the Pharisees or Scribes or Sadducees were watching and questioning him. These religious folks weren’t really interested in learning more about Jesus. They weren’t interested in seeing what God was doing in this new movement, they weren’t interested in helping people, they were only interested in gathering evidence against Jesus.
These guys weren’t interested in serving others unless it involved elevating their own reputations at the same time. They didn’t care about doing ministry unless it fit into their own little box and they certainly weren’t interested in listening to the needs of the world around them. And, with all that said, they missed out on a tremendous move of God right there in their midst, they missed out on the healing power of the cross.
I heard a pastor once say it this way:
• Blinded by their hostility, they missed the holiness.
• Blinded by their hatred, they missed the healing.
• Blinded by their duty, they missed the divinity.
• Blinded by the old way, they missed the new way.
We are in the second week of a sermon series called “The Healing Power of the Cross”. Last week we talked about the Spectrum of Healing. We discussed how the healing ministry of Jesus is available to all people regardless of social or economic status. We talked about how the healing ministry of Jesus should be a part of every church’s ministry and we agreed that the healing ministry of Jesus and therefore the church, brings hope to people.
This week we are looking at a passage of Scripture that records yet another incident of the status quo trying to rob God’s people of healing and wholeness. Did you realize that? When we allow skeptics, when we allow naysayers, when we allow negative Nancys to bully the church into relinquishing the healing ministry of the church to the lunatic fringe, i.e. the Robert Tiltons of the world, we are allowing them to rob us of a tremendous gift of God.
That’s what was going on with the Religious leaders in Jesus’ day. They didn’t understand what Jesus was doing; they didn’t want to understand him. They couldn’t control what he was doing and they couldn’t stop the people from flocking to him, so they set about to discredit Jesus and discourage people from following him.
I believe this happens all too often in the church today. This is where most of the church is now. We don’t hear of the miraculous taking place much anymore, we don’t hear about people getting healed much anymore, we don’t see many churches laying hands on people and praying for healing.
Don’t believe me? Let me ask those of you who grew up in mainline denominations: Before you came to NewSong, how many of you had heard a series of sermons on the Healing Power of the Cross? Or heard a Bible study on healing? How many of you have attended a church that had an ongoing healing ministry? How many of you have been anointed and received healing prayer? How many of you have laid hands on someone and prayed for healing?
Please don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not saying the modern church has devolved into a bunch of 21st century Pharisees (or am I?). What I am saying is this: I think, due to years of shying away from the power of the healing ministry of the church, we now find ourselves in need of healing.
Fortunately, if we read beyond the words on the page, we see that in this passage from Mark, Jesus was healing more than hands. Let’s take a look…
I. Jesus Heals Us of Loving Church More Than People (v 1, 2)
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.
The Pharisees loved their institution more than they love God. They loved their buildings and altars and robes and finery more than they did the people they were called to serve.
I’ve heard it said pastors can get so caught up in the P’S of a church, the prestige of the pulpit, the proportion of the paycheck, and the proportion of the pension, they forget about the most important P, the people.