We are in the Christ Stream reading from the Good News Translation this week.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Lord Jesus, you are Lord over the Sabbath, over nature, over diseases and Lord over the Law. May you be The Lord in our lives too. Amen.
The Sabbath Laws were so detailed and extreme that they were stifling for people. The trend went to these ends after the Babylon Captivity. The leadership in Israel had been so wretched from ca. 920 – 722 A.D. that they figured that swinging to the other extreme of feigned obedience would be proper. On the Sabbath no one could walk more than a few minutes. Food had to be prepared the day before and eaten cold. Even today there are some of this same brand of faith who will not flush their toilets on the Sabbath because pushing the handle down that painful one inch constitutes work (this is true!). Yes, Jesus used the occasion to highlight the sillyness of manmade rules. He was also addressing the leaderships penchant for majoring on the minor and minoring on the major. And for what it’s worth, it was Jesus’ teaching and His life lessons about the Sabbath that put the Sanhedrin, Pharisees and Scribes over the edge and their reaction steeled their resolve to eventually crucify him.
3 – Imagine these jokers being so cold that a man getting his hand healed [on THEIR wrong day!] angers them. What a sorry bunch. He is healing and cleansing people of evil spirits and a stampede to Galilee had erupted from even neighboring lands. It be difficult to film such a scene for it requires tens of thousands of people to film it accurately so we’ve not really seen this scene duplicated for what it really was. The crowds could have easily exceeded 100,000. The biggest of sporting or music events worldwide rarely reach this size. Jesus is creating a rage of this size in a country outpost! He tells the demons that he is expelling to keep quiet for he was trying to delay the people rising up to make him King/Messiah of Israel. He was able to delay it until Palm Sunday a couple years later.
Next Jesus is calling the 12 Disciples. This is also in Mt. 10:2ff, Lk 6:12ff, and Acts 1:13. The order of these vary per list but it’s the same men – that’s a discussion for another day.
Jesus is being accused of having an evil spirit by the teachers of the Law. They were angry that there was so much attention shifting away from them and going to Jesus. It was jeopardizing their income. Jesus warned that calling his work to be of the Devil was a dangerous deed that would not be forgiven. We need to hear this today. Too much of this happens now anytime someone has a ministry style that seems “out there” to us. I’ve heard people call a minister a demon or some such label. Take it easy, that puts US in dangerous territory. We don’t know and need to watch our words here.
Jesus responding that whoever obeys him is His family; his mother and brothers. Some branches of Christendom bristle at Jesus saying this for Jesus’ mother is so revered in some churches. But Jesus said what He said. We need to make sure WE are in Jesus family through obeying Him and leave complex theologizing alone.
4 – The Parable of he Sower is a clear memo to us. We are to be fruitful soil. We are not to be paper thin characters, or distracted by thorny concerns, or lacking substance like rocky soil. We are called to be rich in Him – like nutrients; growing and helping others grow. And we are to be productive. We are to draw others to God like a lamp in the dark. Too many hide their faith. Today people all over the world are being told to put their Crosses away. NEVER. Broadcast the Faith in Our Jesus that saves. Our faith is a growing enterprise. It engulfs more of humanity than any creed or business or movement ever has. It was small once – 12 guys; rather ruffian in nature, and billions have joined since. We can learn from the mustard seed, can we not? We’ve been living it for near 2000 years. And one last lesson about nature – when he orders a storm to be calmed: He has control over nature.