by Pastor Lee Hemen
May 7, 2008
Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick… (Matthew 12:15)
This is an interesting verse. If we look at it without noting its context it does not impact us as much as when we discover what was occurring here. Jesus had just got done healing a man with a shriveled hand in a local synagogue. He had just taught His followers that “the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:8) Jesus, being the Son of God, created the commands of God and He controls what can be done on the Sabbath! The legalists of His day were so bound up by man’s interpretation of the commandments of God they could not let go of their spiritual blindness. God desired mercy, not sacrifice. In fact, Jesus asks them “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:11-12) If you say you love God, you will love others. Angered at Jesus’ fulfillment and teaching of the law and the commands of God, “the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.” (Matthew 12:14) They valued a sheep more than a man. The rule rather than mercy. Following the letter rather than showing God’s grace.
The legalists of our day would rather save their personal pet, than heal a person on their day of worship. They do it all the time when they pass by those in need of the healing touch of Christ, in order to get to their place of rest and relaxation. Feeding the “fatted calf,” themselves, is far more important than healing a hurting soul with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Why? The law is more important to them. You have to work, work, work before you can be sure, sure, sure you are saved, saved, saved and those who are not willing to work cannot be saved. We have created a dialectic argument here in our society today. You have those who adhere to their stanch legalism out of personal selfishness. Like in Hinduism we see a passive and active causation. (Oh no! I will be branded as promoting New Age, which I am not doing at all. Notice, I said “like we see in…”) Our sheep, ourselves, our time, our feelings, our guilt, our definitions of the commands of God are far more important to us than the gospel truth!
When God moves you dear child of grace to care, to pray with, to touch a life, to witness to another, you must respond immediately. Do not pray about it. Do not wait. Do not think on it and make a discussion out of it because if you do, you will not follow the dictates of your heart. The sacrifice God desires is ourselves whereby we willingly obediently and immediately give up ourselves to follow His Son and our Savior wherever He leads us. Faith is seeing God in every act, in every encounter, in everything of our life. This is why the Pharisee of Pharisees who was dramatically changed could stand in the epitome of Greek philosophy and openly declare, “’For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are His offspring.’” (Acts 17:28) If you are one of His “offspring,” then there is no argument left. No command greater than to do His will of loving God and others immediately. Stop today and heal a hurting sheep with the gospel of Jesus. Do not just pass by.
NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety.