Summary: Jesus is labeled as rebellious Jew, crazy man, evil demon possessed and mere human. Will you choose one of these labels? The Lord wants you to engage Him in order to find out for yourself.
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Who Is Jesus to You?
Pastor Tom Fuller
It’s said that “no good deed goes unpunished.” Do you ever find that to be true? I do. I remember one time long ago now, that I was trying to be a peacemaker in the midst of a tense ministry situation and ended up being fingered as the bad guy – when I was the only one who was caring! I’m sure that was probably what Jesus thought as he received no end of grief and even a plot against His life – just for doing a supernatural healing of a guy with a shriveled hand. And it shows how we can misunderstand the role of Jesus and end up questioning things He is doing that seem bad or uncomfortable to us, but are designed to bring His healing in our lives.
Law breaker or Life giver?
Another time he 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.
Can you believe the attitude of these guys – they wanted Jesus to perform a miracle – not to praise God or see someone’s life made whole again – but so they could accuse Jesus of breaking some tradition!
As usual, Jesus does what they expect – but not in the way they expected.
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.
This is so great. Jesus traps these guys so thoroughly. Who is going to say it’s better to do evil – and who is going to argue against the good of healing a man’s hand? The Pharisees won’t even engage Jesus because they will lose.
That is actually what a lot of people still do with Jesus. The Lord is very very good at putting His finger on precisely our point of decision. To the rich young ruler it was his possessions that kept him from coming to God – and for the Pharisees it was legalism. What was it for you? What is it for you?
Jesus said in Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
He’s knocking – but will you answer the door – will you engage Jesus. God says “come let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). God will reason with you – He will point out that which is standing in the way of you answering His knock – but so many times we simply avoid thinking about it so we avoid dealing with it.
Well, Jesus has already had it with these men, who keep control over men by making up rules. There aren’t many things that make Jesus more angry than when people stand in the way to God. And Jesus purposefully provokes a confrontation here.
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.
The verbs used in this verse suggest that Jesus was experiencing a mixture of anger or wrath – combined with grieving. The verb “deeply distressed” can mean “to grieve with someone.” Jesus was mad – and the wrath of God is a real thing. Without the sacrifice that Jesus will make for sins like this – the wrath of God will be felt – total separation and total punishment – forever. God doesn’t play around with sin.
But the grieving part also suggests that Jesus was saddened, deeply, by the unbelief. Later on Jesus will weep when He comes to Jerusalem – weeping because He was coming to save, and was being rejected.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Jesus loved these Pharisees in a way that we cannot fathom.
The Apostle John records in his gospel:
John 1:11-12 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
We see that plainly in the next verse:
6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
Under normal circumstances the Pharisees and the Herodians were enemies. The Herodians hoped to restore Herod the Great to the throne – and they hoped the Romans would do it. This, of course, put them at odds with the Jewish leadership who hated Rome.