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The Lord Your Healer: 

Discover Him and Find His Healing Touch by Paul J. Bucknell

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Discover Him and Find His Healing Touch

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Overcoming Anxiety: Finding Peace, Discovering God


Walking with Christ: Abiding in Christ

The Capsizing of Religion
Mark 3:1-6

Abiding in Christ: Walking in Jesus

Paul J. Bucknell

Have you ever been scared with the advice, "Just go to church?" Did you ever think what the average person experiences when they go to the average church (whatever average might mean)? Jesus discovered early on that going to church could be a The Capsizing of Religionvery uncomfortable situation. He got upset at the way religion got in the way of God's business. Religion just became another place where politicking took place. The clothes looked different; the venue was different, but it was the same struggle for personal acceptance as in the assembly places of Rome.

Fortunately, at this point Jesus was not kicked out. Those that had devised evil just got up and left in a huff. They had some unpleasant business to attend to on the sabbath. What is it that we experience at church? Perhaps our structures and personal expectations have stripped the Lord's ministry from the very place that we would most expect to find it. Let us see how in Jesus' day, how church actually attempted to shut out the ministry of God's love.

1 And He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there with a withered hand. 2 And they were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, in order that they might accuse Him. 3 And He said to the man with the withered hand, "Rise and come forward!" 4 And He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save a life or to kill?" But they kept silent. 5 And after looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 And the Pharisees went out and immediately began taking counsel with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him. (Mark 3:1-6, NASB).

Jesus' habit was to regularly attend synagogue just as we would attend church. Interestingly, we can call church synagogue because it means the same thing and functions in the same way as the synagogue. They both mean 'an assembling' or 'gathering.' At the synagogue God's people joined together in worship, education and ministry. Leaders would be chosen and responsible to care for the people. Non-Jews can better understand the New Testament if they would use the translation 'church' instead of synagogue.

We must wonder how ministry can be regulated out of church. After all, isn't a main purpose of church for people to meet God and find want healing and help?! The leaders are responsible to insure this ministry is done. In this case, we find the problem originated not with sabbath rules or with healing. The teachers were so intent on the preservation of 'their ministry' and their respectable positions that they were not at all open to God doing specially good things in their midst. Maybe we should ask, "How many church leaders would want an itinerant young preacher come in and heal one of your member's withered hand?"

Many churches just wouldn't want Him to be there! They don't believe in healings. They don't want some unordained youngster causing problems in their well-ordered services. Their ministry is to have well-ordered services rather than heal and help.

Others will argue that Jesus was breaking the sabbath. Interesting. Truly, the keeping of the sabbath is one of the forgotten commandments today. We should be happy for the leaders and teachers who insist on their members keeping it. When a careful look is taken at both their attitudes and the real teaching of the sabbath, however, we find that a superficial use of these teachings can be used to keep God out of church more than in the church.

After Jesus had called this man with the withered hand forward to stand in front of everyone, He asked an important question, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save a life or to kill?" Jesus at once taught the essence of the sabbath as well as exposed the evil intentions of the teachers.

The essence of the sabbath is to preserve and keep the well being of man. God doesn't need a sabbath; man does. God built it into the foundations of the universe so that we could be well and live good lives. The sabbath is to keep man from oppression and slavery and redeem him unto God's presence and purpose. We should all be filled with acts of goodness on the sabbath! What a difference the world would be if we would retire from our own profit and ego–making schemes so that we could really care for people as God would direct us. The old catechisms refer to this as "acts of mercy."

Equally, Jesus exposed these leaders as the ones who really broke the sabbath. They erred in three major ways.

  • Firstly, they had no compassion for this man with a withered hand. Secondly, they were seeking opportunity to accuse rather than to help Jesus.
  • Thirdly, on the sabbath they plotted with the Herodians to destroy Jesus.

One would think that they would have spotted their inconsistency. They were so caught up in assailing Jesus that they were not at all attuned to what God the Maker of the sabbath really desired.

Jesus dared to interfere in the accepted religious ways so that God's love could more greatly fill the lives of the people. If a ministry isn't meeting the needs of the broken and hurt people, then it is not worth keeping.

I personally am challenged to be more expectant of what God wants to do in our churches. I am often intimidated and even ruled by protocol even though what we do is often opposite to what they did in church during Jesus' day. They stood to pray and hear God's Word. We sit down. May God deliver me from being so sensitive to what has been accepted so that God cannot reach in and touch the real needs of God's people.

We should note the very next verse speaks about how the people were flocking to hear Jesus outside of church. We would do so much better to care for people rather than be so ornate with well-structured services. If we did this, maybe the people would like to come to church and meet God. Next

Abiding in Christ: Walking with Jesus Series

Walking with Christ: Abiding in Christ

Paul J. Bucknell

The Beginning
John 15:5

The marvelous way the Lord instigated this series.

Impossible Love
Mark 8:1-9

Jesus responded to their needs. The disciples responded to their resources.

Genuine Friendship
John 15:15-16

I don't want my Heavenly Father to treat me the way I treated my son!

A Vial of Love
Mark 14:1-9

Our relationship with God is to take priority over our works.

Following is Not Easy
Mark 10:46-52

I wanted Jesus to be with me, but I didn't really want to be with Him.

Listening Carefully
Mark 7:17-18

The Lord wants me to sit down and listen to Him.

A Faith that Counts

I was not sure how many prayers I have absolutely wasted.

Staying Focused
Matthew 15:21-28

Jesus found these planned retreats can be rudely interrupted.

Discovering Treasures
Mark 10:21-27

What were they amazed and later astonished at?

Worth it all!
Mark 10:28-31

His disciples would often if not always be required to make a sacrifice of one kind or another.

The Capsizing of Religion
Mark 3:1-6

Many churches just wouldn't want Jesus attend!

Family of Jesus
Mark 03.31-35

If you or I were part of this crowd, wouldn't we do the same thing as they?

(The following chapters are part of the full book which can be purchased separately or as part of the D#3 Digital Library.)

Abiding in Christ: Walking with Jesus by Paul J. Bucknell

Growing Confidence in Jesus
Mark 7:31-37

What Jesus I am following?

A Word on Christian Suffering
John 15:1-2

We didn't do anything wrong to deserve such pruning! John 15:1-2

Genuine Worship
Mark 12:28-34

Anything not built on this one command is best left in the periphery of life.

Dreams to Dust 911
Mark 13:1-3

Jesus felt compelled to take their dreams to the dust.

A Faith of Action
Mark 11:27-33

The world starts getting concerned when the church starts practicing its faith.

The Felling of Fame
Mark 2:1-2

Stopped in my tracks. Time to deal with my desire for fame.

Perspective on Worry
Luke 12:25-26

We are really surprised at Jesus' comments about our worry.

Overcome Fear of Man
Mark 11:27-39

Outnumbered. Outflanked. Out-educated. Compromise was begging Jesus to conform for acceptance.

Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted: (C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988

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