April 29th – God says “There is no difference!”

 Mark 3:1-6 “Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand. Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him.  He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus.” 

 We read this text often and preach about the POWER OF GOD and against legalism in the church and the hardness of mens hearts towards God’s Law of Love. 

 Perhaps today, in your life, there is something deformed – something you feel is not exactly right; something that continually reminds you of an imperfection, failure or problem.  Jesus is Here and HE can help and heal whatever is broken in your life; even if it is your heart.

 These are true and well keeping with the text.

 But there is something more here, something very disturbing.

 View this text from the view of the disabled man who was hurting, yet remained faithful to his religion.  The man who came to God’s House looking for hope – DAY AFTER DAY, The man who then heard his religious leaders profess that he should remain disabled and used him as an excuse to plot the death of the One Man who was willing to help.

 Mankind has a long and dark history of hurting or ignoring those who are not like the majority; whether they be the elderly, the unborn, the disabled, the alien, the prisoner, the very skinny or the very fat. 

 The woman we deem to be to “easy” or the man said to be “too wild” or “Too bizarre” are often shunned by society and driven forcibly into the dark corners of our community. 

The GAY student, the STD sufferer and the EX-CON are all forced into their various sub cultures and pushed into financial slavery and menial tasks. 

 All these and more are pushed away from the “DECENT FOLK” and they become societies “Shadow People” – they are there but we never really see them.

 We push out the life’s margins those who make us “squirmy” and have nothing to do with them.

 How opposite of the teaching of Jesus!  Look at the evidence:

 In John 4 there was a Samaritan Woman at the well who had a terrible reputation with the men of her city.  She was treated so poorly by her community that she could not even get water at the regular times.  Jesus did not ignore her, He went to her and offered her the Living Water of Eternal Life.

  1. In Matthew 20 we are told the story of two blind men who were seeking Jesus, the crowd around Jesus told them to “Be Quiet” but Jesus ignored the crowd and asked them what they wanted Him to do for them.
  2. Few people were more shunned in the Old Days than those with leprosy.  They were forced to announce their illness to the world with shouts of “Unclean, unclean” wherever they went.  Crowds would part and heads would turn away as a leper passed down a street.  Yet, in Luke 5 we find Jesus Christ not just talking to a leper, but also TOUCHING HIM! And healing him.
  3. 4.      We all remember when the disciples…yes THE DISCIPLES…. Tried to keep those snot nosed, squirmy wormey dirty little children away from Jesus and Jesus stopped them and said “Let the children come to Me.  Don’t stop them!  For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”

   Whether we will admit it or not, we are bullies to many people in our community.  Maybe we are not teasing them or hitting them, but purposefully ignoring someone, or a whole group of people, is bullying.  Keeping them from living the same quality of life we enjoy is bullying them.

 Withholding the Love and Gospel of Jesus Christ from them is bullying them in the worst possible way.

 Colossians 3:10-11 “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.”

 Mankind has divided ourselves into thousands of categories and subcategories.  We divide by illness, orientation, color, economics, size, shape, birthplace, language, education, hobbies, sins and preferences.

 God only has two categories. 

 Those who have been born only once and those who have been born twice.  Lost or saved…..And He has done everything He can to reach out to the lost and developing a life changing and lifesaving relationship with them; even giving His only Son to die on Golgotha’s Cruel Cross so our sins could be forgiven and an eternal relationship possible.

 Today God wants you to know that He has not labeled you.

 Today God wants you to know that it is not too late.

 Today God wants you to know that He is here for you.

 Today God wants you to know He loves you.

 Today God is calling out to you, “come to me all you who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

 Will you come.