Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Love! I still don’t understand it. I don’t think the world understands it. The power of love that emanated from Jesus was so strong it drew crowds from hundreds of miles. What is that love? At times I get little glimpses of it, but I can’t fathom that love.
Today, to draw crowds of people, churches and pastors don’t use “love” they use entertainment. They use fanaticism. They use the pressure of the mob. But love? No! Our churches, denominations and religious institutions have moved from love of God to love of money, power, greed and numbers. What they teach is man’s wisdom and opinions. They want to prove how intelligent they are so you will sit in awe of them and join their church. Jesus never went that route. He just used love and all that flowed from it.
I want that love. I see the Lord working in my life helping me to understand it. It seems to be a work of a lifetime. Little by little, step by step He is showing me what His love is. It is so powerful I want nothing else. Join me in finding the Love of Jesus.
Luke 5:1 to Luke 6:12
On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, . . .
Ok, did Jesus use a band to draw the crowds? Did He use advertising placards? Did He send out advertisers to drum up the crowds? It is so amazing that we read of nothing except what must have been His love for the people to draw them. I want that type of love. Love that draws. Too often I think, what we teach and do thinking is “love” or “caring”, is not loving but actually pushes people away. Where is that fine line? How do we teach truth with such love that people want to press “in on Him to hear the Word of God”?
. . . and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.
Jesus didn’t have the latest in “Limousines”. He didn’t drive up in a Range Rover from which to stand with a megaphone to address the people. No, He looked around and saw Peter’s boat. Jesus used what was at hand. How simple. Another point, this was early morning, maybe 6 am. The sun was coming up and fishing had ended for the night. How many churches, preachers and ministers draw crowds early in the morning?
Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
He didn’t want to push them away. Yet, they were pressing upon Him. That was dangerous. People could be crushed by the mob. In His love He simply stepped into a boat and began giving the people what they came to Hear: the “Word of God”. “He sat down and taught the people”. How humble. He didn’t stand and wave His hands around. He didn’t jump up and down. Humbly and quietly He sat and taught the people. I believe His Father miraculously opened up the ears of every person there in order for them to hear. God wants the world to hear His Word. Not many are teaching His Word in today’s world.
What if Peter refused to loan his boat to Jesus? We would never have heard the wonderful experiences Peter went through. That would have been the last of Peter in the Bible. Be very careful not to refuse when God asks.
And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
“The Deep”. The lake, at its maximum depth is only about 141 feet. The lake itself is approximately 705 feet below sea level making it the second lowest lake in the world. Wikipedia. Being so low and surrounded by hills, its average temperature varies from 47*F to 98*F. Probably, this “warm” temperature year round is the reason Jesus spent much of His ministry in the area. When you are homeless, warm is nice.
Simon and his partners had spent the night fishing. They were tired and were cleaning their nets and getting ready to sleep. Human nature would not be favorable to such a request. Most today would probably be irritated, argue and put up a defense to get their own way. After all, daylight was not the time to fish. If that had been the case Jesus would have bypassed them and their futures would have been much different. They probably would have been very successful as the world goes. Who are you working for?
Sometimes we have to let our nets down into “the deep” places of the world. Down into the murky places of the world. Down into the unknown places of the world to catch God’s fish. Why are you sitting in church? Since Simon had offered his boat to Jesus, Jesus was about to offer Simon a net full of fish.
And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”
“But at your word”. Do we live by the “Word of God”? Or do we argue with it? Do we put our pastors, churches, our own feelings, wants and habits above the “Word of God”? Here was a man God could use. He would be obedient to the “Word of God”. I pray that each of us will work and strive to live in obedience to the “Word of God”.
And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.
Simply put, when we obey the “Word of God” we also will have success. How hard it is to believe that! So often in our lives we fight and argue against the plain “Word of God” trying to prove that our way is better and more successful. How sad. It isn’t. Physically and eternally only obedience to the “Word of God” will bring success.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in such obedience to the Word of God that we would be unable to handle the success that came our way? In one sense, that is the case here at the ministry. It is successful. Not in monetary terms, but in receiving many requests from inmates and others from around the world via Facebook and our website.
But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
And so it has been with me. I feel so unworthy to have the success God has given this ministry. It has nothing to do with me. The success of this ministry is totally because of the love and blessings of God. If left to me, this ministry would be a failure. And yes, I have been a very sinful man. Thank God for His grace, mercy and love.
For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, . . .
I am very “astonished at the catch of fish” this ministry is reaching every day. Joe is hunting on line for inmates. When he finds them he inputs their names and addresses into an Excel sheet. When he has “captured” about 220 names I take them and prepare them to be “authorized” by the United States Postal Service. Once “authorized” I then print “Initial Newsletters” for each inmate and mail them off. I suppose that would be the letting “down of the nets” into “the deep”. Then I wait to see how many “fish” we catch. And to think, Joe doesn’t use his blindness as an excuse. He just uses the Windows magnifying glass at about 700% to see what he is doing on the computer. Then, I guess, we begin the cleaning process of cleaning our “nets” for the next catch.
. . . and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”
I wonder who else are “astonished at the catch of fish”? I thank each and every one of our “partners” who are working with us through their tithes, offerings and donations to help us catch “fish”. As Jesus stated to them, so I say to you, “Do not be afraid”. God will bless you for your help. As you live in obedience, sacrificing yourself, Jesus will test you and then He will bless you. “From now on you will be catching men” with this ministry.
And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
Interesting concept. When He called, I “left everything and followed Him”. Not many do. Not many are even willing to part with a little bit of “everything”. I pray that someday God will find a “James and John” to leave everything and come give their hearts to this ministry. I need the help. I would hate to see this ministry sink because there will be no one to take over when I am gone.
While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”
The first concept is to recognize we need cleaning. The man knew he was full of sickness. Once he recognized that, there was the desire to be clean. From there began the search to find the cure.
In our lives, to be cured from sin, we must first recognize we have sin and need cleansing from it. Most have a vague understanding that they might have “sin”. But most do not recognize the actual specific sins in their lives. They do not recognize the enormous guilt of sin. Therefore, when people pray they ask God to “forgive my sins”, but in actuality, they are not asking for specific sins and are not able to put them away. That is why Jesus can’t cleanse us of our sins. We are not working to put sin away from us. We love our sins way too much.
“Every man's work passes in review before God and is registered for faithfulness or unfaithfulness. Opposite each name in the books of heaven is entered with terrible exactness every wrong word, every selfish act, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling. Heaven-sent warnings or reproofs neglected, wasted moments, unimproved opportunities, the influence exerted for good or for evil, with its far-reaching results, all are chronicled by the recording angel.” GC 482.
The next concept is to recognize that Jesus can and will cleanse us of our sins. But we must be earnest in our desire to be cleansed from our sins. If you can’t point to a sin in your life - pride, ego, arrogance, selfishness, covetousness, greed, love of opinion and a million other sins - then Jesus can’t heal you.
As an illustration, last year when I went into the hospital, at first they were not able to treat me. Why? Because they had no idea I had “Epidural Abscess”. It is so rare I almost died. But thanks be to God, He worked it out so they were able to identify the problem in time to earnestly go to work cutting and sucking out the disease from my backbone which was trying to take my life. Thanks to God for His healing power I am alive and not a paraplegic today.
Unless you are able to identify the sin, earnestly going to work at cutting it out of your life, God cannot help you get rid of it. If we have sin in our lives when probation closes, or we die, we will be lost.
And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him.
As Jesus stretched out His hand and touched me, healing me of my disease, so He will stretch out His hand to heal us of our sins if we will ask Him. But we must recognize the seriousness of sin in our lives. We must hate sin as Jesus does. His hate for sin, and His love for sinners, kept Him on the cross for us. I can’t fathom that kind of love. It is beyond my understanding. I pray I find enough of it to keep me in God’s corner.
The pain from my illness was so bad I pleaded with the hospital staff to kill me. Jesus pleaded for His Father to forgive a world of sinners who were killing Him. In the beginning, knowing all the pain that would be inflicted upon Him, Jesus pleaded with His Father to come and die. I can’t understand that love, self-control and commitment.
And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
In most of the reading I have done on that sentence, it is about the humbleness of Jesus. Yet, accepting that, I wonder if it also wasn’t for the humbleness of the leper. Too often today I see people jumping up and down, telling everyone about their “healing” as if it had something to do with them. As if they were so special and perfect. No, Jesus healed sinners. Yes, after being healed of a sin or sickness we may be “perfect” in that area of our individual lives, but there are many more areas in our lives which need to be “perfected”. Let us not become prideful or arrogant. Let us humbly recognize that nothing good comes from us. All good that we may have is only loaned us from the Father who is the only Good. He just flows His good through us.
But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities.
It wasn’t too long before this that the church people wanted to kill Jesus for His “theology”. Now the crowds were eager to “hear him and to be healed of their infirmities.” How true in our lives. Our “opinion” and “theology” may drive us to hate and kill, but as soon as we need something, how quickly we forget about our “opinion” and “theology”. People flock to “healers” without any consideration if they should change their opinion, theology or lives.
The heart of Jesus must have been sad. He was able to look into the lives of each and every person who came before Him. He saw the hypocrisy. He saw that the only reason most were there was for what they could get. It wasn’t to learn how to get eternal life. It wasn’t in sympathy for what Jesus was going to go through for them. No, just “get, get, get”. And yet, His love was so great, He loved them so much, He still healed them and taught as many as would allow Him.
But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
And so He withdrew to pray. Most churches, religions and denominations, not to mention pastors and teachers, would be giddy with pride and ego. Withdraw? Not in your life! Not as long as people want to hear me! And their pride grows and grows.
Jesus withdrew away from the crowds to a desolate place to pray. We need to pray like Jesus. We need to recognize our need of the power of God to keep us humble and firmly standing on the Rock. Our only hope, power and success comes from God. I’m not talking about worldly success. I’m talking about spiritual success. Success in battle against sin in our lives. That is the only success that will count in the end. Everything else is just a passing wind.
On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.
The churches and church members of the world today, like the “Pharisees and teachers of the law” back then, have no clue of the “power of the Lord”. They are so full of themselves, their opinions, their theology, their pride and church identity, they have no room for the “power of the Lord” in their lives. Many come to the information this ministry puts out, read it and then go on their way without realizing they have been in the presence of the “power of the Lord”. But their lives are too full of this world to humbly listen and learn. How sad.
They “had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem”. It is sad that the powers of the church came, not to hear the truth, but to destroy it. In the Old Testament we find that the wicked always came in a group. How true that is. They could not stand alone in their lies. Jesus proved that truth can stand alone.
And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, . . .
However, there are those few who are listening and coming to Jesus. The men bringing the paralyzed man may not have believed in Jesus. However, the paralyzed man may have believed so much he motivated the men to take him to Jesus. Or, maybe his friends believed so much they just picked him up and took him. Do we have such belief to bring others to Jesus? Is our belief so strong that others around us are coming to Jesus? What would it take to change your life to have such a belief?
. . . but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus.
I don’t know about you, but I can say for myself, I probably would have become discouraged and left. After all, breaking up the roof of someone else’s home isn’t exactly what I would do. That would take some belief! Have you removed barriers in your life, or the lives of others, that are preventing you and them from standing in the “midst before Jesus”?
And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
“Your sins are forgiven you”. We are to follow the example of Jesus. Therefore, my question to you is, “Whose sins have you specifically forgiven”? Obviously this man had sinned against God. Yet, Jesus was willing to forgive this man of the sins against Himself. Have you done that?
You see, faith is not a “belief” in a set of doctrines or Bible texts. Faith isn’t something that makes you go and sit in church. True faith isn’t even believing in the “Bible”. True faith makes you get up and go stand before Jesus. When God called me to this ministry in 1997, I believed, stood up and gave up everything of this world to answer the call. What has your faith “moved” you to do? Has Jesus seen enough faith in you to say of you, “Your sins are forgiven you”?
And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Of course they didn’t believe this Man could forgive sins. Nope, that is the prerogative of God alone. And, of course, we represent God through His church. Yep, since He is not authorized by us, He is not of God. Secondly, God would not forgive this horrible, paralyzed sinner. Obviously he has been stricken by God. He has been cast out by us and therefore, he is an outcast of God. Have you seen that attitude in your church?
When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts?
Interesting question. Why do we question in our hearts? God can do anything. So we say! But I don’t think we truly believe what we say. We only believe if it pertains to us, not them! For some reason we seem to have taken possession of God and made Him “our” God. He only does for me, my church and my organization. Not theirs! God can’t forgive their sins, they don’t belong to my church.
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
Maybe we don’t catch the significance. “Easier”. How hard was it for Jesus to forgive? It only took a few seconds and a few words. How easy could that be? Is anything too hard for God? We just don’t get it. At first I didn’t think it was possible for God to do what He said He would do in this ministry. After all these years I’m finally realizing He can do what He says He will do. It is a hard reality to accept. But as we read about the physical miracles of Jesus, our faith strengthens and we realize that He who is able to heal a paralyzed man can just as easily forgive my sins.
But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.”
How many times I have wondered if God would forgive my past sins. And yet, over and over and over again He continues to prove to me that nothing is impossible for Him. He keeps telling me, “Rise, pick up your bed and go home”. He keeps wanting me to come home to Him and forget my paralyzed state of sins: to leave them and go. Like the paralyzed man in the story, God did the same for me in 2020. He raised me up from a paraplegic state and gave me back my health. I know God can forgive my sins.And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God.
Fortunately he believed Jesus and rose up. He went home. He left his paralyzed state behind him, never even looking back, and went home “glorifying God”.
And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”
Well, the people may have been amazed, glorifying God and sharing what they had seen and heard with their friends, but the glorifying of God probably was not done by the Pharisees and teachers of the law. While most were probably filled with awe, the Pharisees and teachers of the law probably hurried back to their church to find ways to destroy this troublesome Man. The church always destroys. Jesus always heals.
As they were amazed, so was my surgeon and the medical staff who took care of me. They all thought I would remain a paraplegic for the rest of my life. God had other plans.
After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.”
Jesus might have gone off and sulked over the lack of acknowledgement from the established church. He might have withdrawn and kept a more discreet profile. Yet, here He was, against all the best advice of His time, going out and expanding His followers. Not only expanding, but taking in those the established church would have never tolerated or condoned. Jesus was not out to appease the church, He went out in defiance of the church to do what was right. The church was horrified!
And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
Matthew was not stupid. He understood exactly what following Jesus meant. Matthew, being wealthy, may have been trying to “buy” influence with the church. But seeing he was never going to be “accepted” by the established church, may have been ready to throw in his lot with this rebellious Outcast like himself.
And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them.
I wonder if he was deliberately trying to tick off the established church? Seeing how they refused to accept him and his money, he showed his wealth by entertaining Jesus and His disciples. Whatever the case, Levi Matthew had thrown in his lot with Jesus. There was no turning back. He publicly let it be known who he would be supporting. Have you publicly shown your support for Jesus? Or is it your church you support?
And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Many today ask me why I bother with inmates. They seem to feel that inmates are not worth the time, money and trouble. After all, they are just putting on a show until they get out. It is just “Prison Religion”!
And yet, most do not realize that church members are doing the very same thing they accuse inmates of. What they call “faith” or “belief” is really only emotion fed by the church. Take away their church and they also have no faith or belief in Jesus. Therefore, theirs is just a “Church Religion”.
And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
How true that is. Only those who recognize their sinful state will recognize their need of a Savior. Those going to church have no recognition of their sinful state. After all, they have church.
I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
Jesus is not calling the Pharisees, teachers of the law or the scribes “Righteous”. He is simply using their own perceptions against themselves. They thought of themselves as “righteous” and Levi and his cronies as “sinners”. Therefore, Jesus turned their own perceptions against them. Those who go to church and think of themselves as having no need of a Savior will not desire what He offers. However, those of us who realize how sinful we have been desire what Jesus offers.
And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.”
How human! It is the sinful, human heart that is always attempting to compare ourselves with others. And, of course, it is always better to have the crowd on your side. Notice, they are at a feast and complaining about eating and drinking. I would assume that Levi held the feast on one of the Pharisees’ “fast days” just to tick them off. When fasting and praying become rituals, they ceases to be righteous. But of course, the Pharisees obviously had not read Isaiah where God pointed out that the true fast is sharing your food with the hungry. That is exactly what Levi was doing for Jesus and His disciples. (Isaiah 58:4-8). How righteous of him!
And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
I wish I had the ability of Jesus to give parables and real-life examples. I’m slow. My mind is stupid. But Jesus, instead of throwing “Bible” texts at them gave parables and real-life examples. No one could argue against them.
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”
This must have been an interesting statement from Jesus. Was He going to be “taken away from them”? The Pharisees would be very pleased about that. However, I have a feeling that the word “taken” filled them with dread. Did Jesus know of their plots to “take” Jesus away and kill Him? Was Jesus letting them know He knew of their diabolical plan?
He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old.
Trying to mix the “new” teachings of Jesus with the “old” teachings of the Pharisees would never work. They did not “match”. They had to throw out the old teachings, church, in order to accept the “New”. Of course, in truth, there was nothing “new” about the teachings of Jesus. They had been around since eternity. He taught from the Old Testament. Yet, to the people of His time they were “new”. The church had replaced Old Testament truth for church doctrine, rules, rituals and services.
Also, trying to cut up the teachings of Jesus in order to pick and chose what you want will only destroy the “new” teachings of Jesus. It doesn’t work either way. You have to accept the “new” completely or it doesn’t work in your old life.
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed.
The “wine” represents the Spirit of God. The “wineskins” are our bodies and minds. Our bodies and minds are old and filled with church and religious lies. The “new” wine, truths the Spirit of God wants to give us, must be put into new bodies and minds. That is why the Spirit of God can only enter those who have died to the old life and rise anew to the new life God has to offer us. We can’t mix the teachings of Jesus with our old lives. Doesn’t work.
But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.
Are you making “fresh wineskins” for the Spirit of God to dwell in? Have you started the transformation process? What sinful habits have you changed in your life? Are you dead to the world?
And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’”
This is a most interesting statement from Jesus. How true it is. Very few will be saved. Why? Because they prefer the old wine the churches, religions and denominations of the world have to offer. They do not want the “new” teachings of Jesus to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments to get eternal life. They want the old “Saved by Grace”. The religions do not desire the new. They say, “The old is good”. It is easy to believe to be saved by grace and go sit in church. It is vary hard to put into practice the new teachings of Jesus to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments to get our eternal life.
On a Sabbath, while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands.
Ok, were the disciples stealing? No! Here is the law God laid down in Deuteronomy 23:25. “If you go into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the ears with your hand, but you shall not put a sickle to your neighbor’s standing grain.” In other words, if you are hungry, you may go into a field or vineyard or orchard and eat all you want. But, you may not “harvest” any or take it to sell.But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?”
Well, not according to the Bible. The Pharisees were referring to their own rules and regulations. Jesus didn’t care about church rules or regulations. You see, the Pharisees probably owned large tracts of fields. They didn’t want people “stealing” their grain. Selfishness overrode the commands of God. Jesus only lived in obedience to the Ten Commandments. In the 4th Commandment it talks about not doing any of our own work on the Sabbath. Work to support ourselves or anything that had to do with worldly achievement. The disciples were not picking grain for profit or worldly achievement. They were hungry. Therefore,
And Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: . . .
Since they accused the disciples of breaking their laws, Jesus referred them back to an incident that took place in “their” Bible. David was also hungry, no different than the disciples were hungry.
. . . how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?”
You see, wars are fought over man-made laws and religious bigotry. However, the laws of God are for the good of all men. Therefore, even though the “bread of the Presence” was only lawful for the priests to eat, it was lawful to supply the needs of the hungry. God is a God of love and mercy. He will share “His” food with the worthy hungry. We should follow His example in all things. Never let the “law” of your church or society interfere with the Law of God to love, give and serve others.
And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
Yes He is. Jesus is “Lord of the Sabbath”. That means that the 7th-day Sabbath, Saturday, is “The Lord’s Day”: not Sunday.
On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered.
In the Old Testament, priests were to be scrutinized for defects. If they had any defects they were not allowed to serve in the temple area as representatives of God. God is a perfect God and He expects us as His priests on earth to live His perfect life. The priests of the Old Testament were examples of God’s perfection. However, the Pharisees, by the days of Jesus, had expanded on God’s laws and pretty much applied that concept to everyone. Therefore, if you had defects you were considered rejected by God and were not allowed into the worship of God, or at least in the synagogue. Which brings up the question, why was he in the synagogue? I would assume the Pharisees knew Jesus would be coming to the synagogue and had laid a trap for Him.
And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him.
Yes they did. Normally that is what “church” does to people. It makes them haters. On the outside they may look like wonderful, educated and refined people. They may have smiles on their faces, but inside, and when the opportunity presents itself, their true feelings will come out. Why? Because religion has programed people to “hate” anyone who is not “like me”. Church people watch to see if others are breaking their church norms. Jesus had nothing to do with church and church legalism.
But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there.
We spend our lives worrying about what the world thinks of us. Seldom do we think about the fact that Jesus reads every thought we think and sees every act we preform. He hears every word we speak. The problem is, we have been brainwashed into believing that Jesus doesn’t care about what we think, do or speak since we have church and are “saved by grace”. Therefore, what Jesus thinks is not as important as what the world thinks of us. In the judgment there will be a terrible awakening. We will be judged by every word we speak and every act we preform.
And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?”
That is what it all comes down to. God is a God of love. He created everything. Why? To hate and destroy it? NO! To love it. Nourish it. And if need be, to save it. Do you have children for the purpose of hating them, hurting them and causing them pain? The laws and commands of Jesus were not to harm or destroy, but to save, heal and do good for His creation. We need to plug into Jesus and draw that Love into our lives.
Duke was abused from birth for four years. When I got him he would not come near me because he though all humans were torture machines. When I picked up a stick to play catch with him, he went into convulsions. It took years of love to get him where he is today. As of now, he is 8 1/2 years old. He takes every opportunity to be with me. He knows he is safe and loved with me. God is trying to do the same with us. Let Him.
And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored.
We must never let anything interfere with our doing good for others. Not one command from church is to come between us and doing good for others. That is what God wants of us. That is why church is so destructive. God doesn’t want us going to church. He wants us out doing good for others.
But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.
Yes they were! Church and church rules, rituals, regulations, traditions and services were more important than doing good for others. While Jesus was looking around to see who He could help, the church people were discussing among themselves how to kill Jesus. The same is happening in our churches today. Just not as “open”, but the policies and rules are for the purpose of lifting up the church and keeping the teachings and love of Jesus out.
In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.
I don’t think we understand the seriousness of Christianity. I’m trying to understand it. With the upbringing I have had, the influences of the church and world, I am learning that I must strive to be like Jesus. The natural heart is wicked. We need more “mountain” time in prayer.