Have you ever had something that just overwhelmed your thinking, where you just can’t stop thinking about it. It’s hard to think about anything else at that moment. As you look back at those overwhelming times can see now that in the midst you made some poor decisions that you maybe regret? I know I certainly am picturing times like that in my life. Let’s see what we can learn from Jesus about this today.
The Passage: Mark 2:1-12 ; Matt 9:1-8; Luke 5:17-26
This is the story of Jesus healing a man with a withered hand, in the synagogue on a Sabbath. According to Fruchenbaum, he thinks this man was planted in the synagogue that day to try and trap Jesus.
Jesus made clear arguments, using their own law and reasoning to prove what he was doing did not violate the Mosaic law. But, the religious leaders refused to believe. JD Pentacost really nails it when he says, “ They allowed the emotion of anger to overtake them, and the result was that they could no longer think logically and rationally. Second, the Pharisees went out, and took counsel against him, how they might destroy him (Mt. 12:14 ) They were clearly not thinking straight. This is evident by the fact that they were willing to conspire with the Herodians. Mark 3:6 says they even went and took counsel with the Herodians of all people. They were at opposite ends politically and bitter enemies toward each other. But having thrown all ration out the window, they conspired together.
What was God doing? Why did He have this written down?
- One thing is clear here, there is a huge difference between how Jesus is responding to the circumstances, and how the religious leaders are. Jesus is restful and obedient to His Father. What Ian Thomas says is so true. (18) “There was never a moment in the life of the Lord Jesus that was without divine significance, never anything He did, never anything He said, never any step He took which did not spring from a divine origin. There was nothing in His life that was not the activity of the Father in and through the Son.” Jesus was restfully available to His Father to speak truth, and to display clearly that He was without a doubt the Messiah.
- In contrast, as the religious leaders witnessed Jesus life they had a very specific picture of what they thought the Messiah would do. They were looking for someone who was a good Pharisee. Someone who followed and promoted their law (Not God’s law, but the Pharisaical law). So, while Jesus was clearly doing things they knew only the Messiah would do, they were so fixated on their image of what the Messiah would do, they couldn’t think or see clearly what was right in front of them.
As I ask these questions of myself, I encourage you to ask them too.
What can I learn from this? What is God saying to me and my life from this passage?
Fixation / Mental Hijacking:
Yesterday my son and I read chapter two in the book, “Disciples of a Godly Man.” The author describes 5 steps to King David’s fall into 2 Samuel 11 (Desensitization, Relaxation, Fixation, Rationalization, Degeneration). Step 3 is “fixation.” In talking about how this happens with lust in a man’s life he quoted Bonhoeffer who said, “when lust takes control, at this moment God . . . loses all reality. . . . Satan does not fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God. When we are in the grip of lust, the reality of God fades.” This is true with any idol in our lives! When the idol becomes so big that we are willing to sin in order to get it, we have lost the reality of God in our lives! This is what happened to the religious leaders. They were so fixated on what they thought was right, that they could no longer see things clearly, hear things clearly, or think clearly!
Jesus on the other hand, even though they refused to believe, and he knew it would lead to further difficulty, as God’s Word in the flesh, He continued to allow God to use His mouth to speak, and to use His hands to work! He continued clearly displaying God in front of them, whether they accepted it or not! How could Jesus keep doing that when the heat was turned up? It’s because He was abiding in the Father. I love what Thomas said about circumstances: (20) “When it comes to the point of obedience to God’s clear instructions, the Life of Jesus Christ within you makes human circumstances irrelevant… What I am urging is simply that you become delightfully detached from the pressure of circumstance, so that it ceases to be the criterion in the decisions you make… You will not need to know what He plans to do with you … you simply need to know Him.” This is how Jesus operated.
(20) “The Lord Jesus Christ could afford to be weak; He could afford to be thought foolish in the eyes of silly, sinful men; He could afford to be reviled and mocked and spat upon, because He knew He had been sent by the Father, and that into the Father’s hands He had committed His Spirit, not only in death but throughout His life. Jesus could afford to do as He was told, and He could afford to die, because He knew that Someone else was taking care of the consequences.”
What do I need become more aware of?
- Where has / am so fixated on that I can’t see or hear God clearly anymore?
- When do I shy from allowing God to do that in my life when the heat turns up?
How does God want me to engage with this? What does He want me to do because of what He is saying here?
- Get my eyes off that thing and on to Him!
The Power; Implement and Integrate
The power to change is in the implementation and integration. We can talk all we want, make lots of plans, but until we do something about it, and develop habits that integrate those truths, we will never change. What is the one thing I need to do as a result of this study today?
Be more intentional in my daily reading and prayer time to pray for God to show me where my focus is off and to help me get it back on Him.