Summary: Jesus wants us to "do good" and "save lives", to show concern for the physical and spiritual needs of people. Let us pursue the good of others, and seize every opportunity to do so.
Jesus pursued the good of other people.
• He did it in his healings; he did it in his teachings.
• In fact, Jesus lived his entire life for the good of other people.
• We are all beneficiaries of that life - He died ultimately for our good.
Today, we are called to live such a life.
• As followers of Jesus, we are to live for a purpose greater than ourselves - we are to pursue the good of others.
• A Pharisee, an expect of the law, once asked Jesus (Matt 22:36-40)
36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
37 Jesus replied: "’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ’Love your neighbour as yourself.’
40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
• Romans 15:1-3a "1We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2Each of us should please his neighbour for his good, to build him up. 3For even Christ did not please himself..."
In the Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren sums this up as one of the 5 great purposes of life - we are made to serve.
• We love God and serve God by loving people and serving people.
• Since we’re not created just to consume resources and take up space on earth.
• If God designed us to make a difference with our life - then we must constantly pursue the good of others.
That’s why we pen our ES Vision as "Every Member A Minister"
• Goal: "Seeking by the grace of God, to grow every member into a minister who will empathise, edify and evangelise actively."
• Christians use different words we use to describe this process. Sometimes we call it "ministry," "service," "outreach," or "Huggies" (AF)
• Whatever we call it, following Jesus means being like Jesus in this respect.
This is highlighted clearly when Jesus says, (Mark 3:4)
"Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?"
• When you truly honour God and worship Him, you ought to love and care for people.
• It has to do with doing good and saving lives.
1 John 4:20-21 "20 If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother."
Loving God and loving people are LINKED together.
So when Jesus asked, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?"
• It was meant to be a wake-up call for the Pharisees, for they were in the synagogue plotting evil, trying to destroy Jesus. They were here to do evil and kill.
• Sadly the religious leaders insisted on their ways.
• 3:5 Jesus "looked around at them in anger..."
(Notice that in His life, the few times Jesus was angry were with the religious, not the sinners...)
One of the most remarkable things about this story is that there is actually nothing you can accuse Jesus of - He did nothing.
• What can you really accuse Him of? [Meier 1994, p.732] He performed no action whatsoever.
• "He does not touch the man, lay hands upon him, seize him by the hand, or raise him up, as is the case in some other Gospel accounts of Jesus’ miracles. Jesus simply issues two verbal orders: the man is to stand up in the sight of the congregation and to stretch forth his hand. On doing that, the man finds his hand healed. Since Jesus has engaged in no physical activity whatever, it is unbelievable that the Pharisees would think that they could have Jesus put to death merely for speaking healing words on a Sabbath."
Since talking is not work, Jesus cannot be held to have violated the Sabbath.
• Yet the Pharisees were out to condemning Him. That is why Jesus was so angry with them. (Greek verb here is a strong word.)
• They were so bent on evil, that it coloured their mind and blinded their eyes.
The Pharisees come with condemning eyes. Jesus looks with compassionate eyes.
• You don’t find grace or mercy in their hearts, but self-centredness and pride.
• They were not concerned about what’s going in the lives of others - they’re concerned about their plot and its outcome.
• They viewed the disabled man as a pawn in their chessboard - a piece of bait to trap Jesus.