In Mark 3:1-6 we find the 5th opposition story in a row that started back in chapter 2.. It’s another Sabbath story but this time Jesus heals a man with a shriveled hand on the Sabbath. What’s different about this story is that we’re told that people (I assume the Pharisees or teachers of the law) [they]were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus.” (v2) Ahhh, this is so important! This is key. Mark, the Gospel writer, is signaling to us that the opposition to Jesus has now escalated to new heights. He makes this very clear to us in v6 where we learn that the Pharisees went out to plot how to kill Jesus! This isn’t about the Sabbath anymore. This is about getting rid of Jesus because they feel threatened. They can’t figure him out. He can heal, but he does it on the Sabbath and breaks their man-made work rules. Their silence in response to Jesus convicts them. God is good. Everything God does is good. Healing is good. Saving life is good. What happened that they’ve become so hard-hearted and lacking compassion? I believe it’s because religion sucks the life out of you. Religion is not life-giving. It’s actually oppressive. Following rules and regulations without walking in the Spirit is all about effort. Religion is works-based. The Kingdom of God is Spirit infused. Beware what happened to the Pharisees and teachers of the law. It can happen to you. If you aren’t careful, religion can replace relationship. Christianity was never, ever a set of do’s and don’ts. Christianity is about a relationship with the Father, through Jesus the Son, with reliance on the Holy Spirit. Don’t turn it into something else. Don’t turn it into legalism. Don’t turn it into work. Don’t add to it what Jesus never intended. You have been set free from the taskmaster of religion. This is the beauty and liberty of living in the Kingdom of God. You have been set free to serve in the power of the Holy Spirit.

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