Living on the other side of history

The Miracles of Jesus

March 1, 2021

“Living on the other side of history.”

(Jesus heals a mans withered hand on the Sabbath)

Mark 3:1-6

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Hannah Barbera (Producers of cartoons such as Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, Jetsons) came out with a Biblically-based series of cartoons. This animated series was called “The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible.”

The series was an ‘animated direct-to-video series that tells of three young adventurers who travel back in time to watch biblical events take place.’ In the series, the three main characters traveled to Old and New Testament locations experiencing the Bible stories from a Christian perspective.

What do you think it would be like to be sent back in time to observe some of the Biblical stories we’ve all learned over the years? Right now, we live on this side of history. So, we know the stories; in many cases, we know and understand the stories’ hows and whys.

What if you were sent back to the other side of history with no memory of your Biblical knowledge. No opinions, no perspectives; you would just be seeing everything for the first time. What would your viewpoint be on David and Goliath, witnessing the birth of Jesus, watching Him die on the cross, or Christ’s healing of a man’s withered hand on the Sabbath?

“Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”

Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.

He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.”

This story is pretty straightforward. Jesus is teaching at the synagogue on the Sabbath. The Jewish Sabbath had many laws, disallowing people from doing pretty much anything. No working in the fields, cooking, baking, and kindling of a fire, are just a handful of the no-nos during the Sabbath in Jesus day.

“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day, no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days, the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day, he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. Exodus 10:8-11

The Pharisees were just waiting for Jesus to perform a miracle on the Sabbath because they felt it would be work. Thus, if Jesus healed the man with the withered hand, Jesus would be breaking one of God’s commandments, and they could rightly accuse Him.

Jesus knew what the Pharisee’s thoughts were. Jesus told the man to stand up and then simply said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” Jesus never said you, “You are healed,” or, “Your sins are forgiven.” Technically He had not broken the law.

But the Pharisees saw it differently and hated Him even more. So, along with the Herodians (Jews who followed Herod and the Roman Empire), they began plotting a way to kill Him.

Wow! It’s Saturday (The Jewish Sabbath), Jesus is in the synagogue preaching, heals a man with a withered hand without so much a word of healing. And now, they want to kill Jesus.

Let’s go back to what I said in the beginning. You and I are living on this side of time. We have the entire Bible to help us understand God’s purpose, goals, love, plan, and forgiveness.

But what if you and I were on the other side of time. We’re sent back in Mr. Peabody’s “Way Back” machine to the time of Jesus. But we no longer have the whole story; we no longer understand God’s plan fully. As a Jew, what would your reaction be to Jesus’ teaching and miracles? Would you be a follower or a Pharisee, teacher of the law, or Herodian? Would you be in awe of Jesus? Or would you want to put Him to death because of His teachings?

These are questions to think about that can help us read and understand the Bible objectively. Ponder these thoughts today.

Dear Jesus. On this side of history, I am a believer. I believe in your miracles, we believe Your teachings, and I believe you died for our sins. I pray that no matter what comes my way, that I will always be a believer. Amen

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