Signs and Wonders of Jesus: Bible Survey for New Christians

March 15th, 2009

Matthew 9:1–8; Luke 13:10–17

Summary:
Christ cures one sick of the palsy;
He heals the crooked woman;

 9:1.  So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city.
 9:2.  And behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.''
 9:3.  And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, "This Man blasphemes!''
 9:4.  But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts?
 9:5.  "For which is easier, to say, `Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, `Arise and walk'?
 9:6.  "But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins'' then He said to the paralytic, "Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.''
 9:7.  And he arose and departed to his house.
 9:8.  Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God who had given such power to men.

 13:10.  Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.
 13:11.  And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up.
 13:12.  But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, "Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.''
 13:13.  And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
 13:14.  But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, "There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.''
 13:15.  The Lord then answered him and said, "Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it?
 13:16.  "So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound think of it for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?''
 13:17.  And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.

Comments:

Jesus recognized the faith of the people, told the man to cheer up and that his sin was forgiven.
The scribes thoughts were that Jesus blasphemed, or defiled God.
Jesus recognized the thoughts of the scribes, and though it is easy to say a thing, it takes power to put those words to work, or to make the action of the words materialize.
Jesus gave an example of things that are easy to talk about, forgiving sin, healing the lame man. To prove the power behind his words, he made the lame man walk to also back the claim that sins are forgiven.
Jesus then told the man to get up, take his bed, and go home.
The crowd saw what happened, marvelled and glorified God. Which should be the behavior and response when God works around us.

On another Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in another synagog.
A woman who was stooped over, and had been for 18 years came to him.
She didn't have to ask. Jesus saw her. He called her. He announced what he was going to do, then he layed hands on her and healed her. He had announced her sins were forgiven, then healed her physical problem.
The woman was healed and immediately gave the correct response, a natural reaction, she glorified God.

The synagog leader was indignant. The miracle was nothing to him. It wasn't his physical trouble, he was unconcerned about the impact of healing on this woman. Instead, he was worried about thework that was done on the Sabbath, the day of rest.
I suppose the ruler of the synagog wasn't entirely against miracles. He told the people to come on one of the other 6 days of the week for healing instead.
Though he is probably trying to defend what the laws of God says about the Sabbath, he is putting limits on when the people be healed. Telling them to keep suffering on the Sabbath and seek relief some other time. His intentions to defend God may be admirable, but does God need defending? Especially when a work has been done that glorifies himself?

Jesus comes back with an example that is so plain and obvious. Even these devout defenders of the letter of God's law will do at least a little work to tend to their livestock. Giving the lesser creatures a little comfort by feding them. With mankind being so much higher, why wouldn't you also offer a little comfort, in the form of healing, to them? They were placing livestock above the needs of their fellow human.

How are these synagog rulers similar to churches today? It is good to have customs and traditions, they help us to focus on God and worship. Do we sometimes cling to our comfortable ways, and end up putting people off? Church people can get stuck in their ways. and want to make people conform to the ways of the tradition, when what is called for is to bend to the need of the newcomer. Unexpected needs sometimes occur, and need to be dealt with immediately. Even on the day of rest. Which is not just a tradition, but ordained by God as a symbol of our worship of him.

Resting is good, but honestly, the amount of giving glory to God is typically somewhere on the dull scale. Plenty of meditative prayers and the like, but nothing eye popping that gets your attention and makes you jump up and say, "wow! God is great." If you are going to do work on a day reserved for God, is it really work when God is in that bit of work, and blessed that work, and he recieves glory as a result of that work?

Here's a question to consider: What did these rulers feel after Jesus straightened them out? Look back a couple days at the lesson covered on day 12. The one from Jeremiah 23:1 "Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!'' says the Lord. Here's another verse to look at: Psalms  132:18.  His enemies I will clothe with shame, But upon Himself His crown shall flourish.'' It seems to me that the leaders of the synagog might have felt a little angry and indignant. They might have also ben just a little ashamed. The only people who should feel shame with God are his enemies. God rewards and honors with a crown, those who are faithful to him.

Even churchy church people can get in a mode where we think we are for God, but we get a wake up call. Our toes get stepped on. We might feel a little angry, but once it is clear that God is in the picture and we are not, we might feel shame. Just change, and realign the old attitude back on God. Fortunately, God will take us back. His mercies are new each day. We can join the rest of the people who recognize what God is really doing, and be amazed at his works, and give him glory

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