Mark 3: 1-12 – Healing of the man with the withered hand.
In the western world, when the glory of God will manifest, the effects of the Holy Spirit will be unusual – perhaps they will even have to be offensive.
Faith is growing more rapidly when it is attacked. This is a reason why there will be more powerful effects of the works of the Holy Spirit that will cause offense.
When the Holy Spirit would do HIS work in a way that common religious communities would understand HIM, HE would not cause significant church growth. Christian faith has a lot to do with the attitude to break with this world system. This has the consequence, to be rejected by this world. Likewise generally the work of the Holy Spirit will cause a contradiction to the mindset of this worldsystem and common religious thinking.
Jesus provokes and challenges in this text. He and a man with a withered hand are standing right before the audience of the community. The people are curious about the question: Will Jesus heal the man on Sabbath? That would yet be a violation of the law of the Sabbath.
After that Jesus asks the congregation this question: “Is it allowed to do good or evil on Sabbath?”
He addresses this question either, because he knows, that they want to kill him, if he would heal the man or, , to save the life of the man, because his hand is about to mortify. To do evil would mean, that possibly the man would die the next day of blood poisoning.
Jesus rebukes the Pharisees, that they would prefer to let him die for the sake of the law of the Sabbath. So Jesus just heals the man.
As a result the Pharisees went outside the synagogue, full of anger to consider how they could kill Jesus. Instead of this they could have been full of joy, that this man has been healed and that his life has been saved.
The attitude, to approve the death of the man, only to play by religious rules, is also an image for the people in this synagogue:
They refused the living power of the love of Jesus and preferred death. They wanted to kill Jesus, who overstepped their religious rules and limits. They refused to open themselves to the spirit of God. But their fruit would have been: Life, healing, and power and manifestations of the kingdom of God.
Signs and wonders will always require faith, that oversteps common rules. They will not happen in a way that someone can see directly: Watch, here is Jesus. There is no special “pattern” or “prototype”, on which someone can see, that something is from God. A spiritual “sense”, the ability to discern spiritually is required. That, who has the sense to discern the spirits, he can perceive, if something is from Jesus. Jesus says: “My sheep hear my voice”. Signs and wonders will always challenge faith, to be recognized as to be from Jesus as the author and faith is required for the ability to discern spiritually.
Who, that has not really faith in Jesus, who, that is not nourishing himself through the relationship with HIM, wants to have fixed “patterns” and clear “rasters” and he accepts only those things, as from God that would fit in those “patterns” and “rasters”. But “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebr 11,6). That is a basic principle of the bible. Powerful effects of the Holy Spirit will always lead to a division, a separation of those, who are spiritually alive and those, who are spiritually dead.
It is an astounding phenomenon, that churches are growing most strongly, when they are threatened and persecuted by men. That are humans that have no spiritual insight. God wants that HIS Kingdom, the kingdom of God, to expand rapidly.
With this it seems natural that the Holy Spirit takes effect in such a bizarre way, that as many religious minds as possible will get heated.
It is likewise as in our story: Jesus could have been gone in to an adjoining room, and could have healed this man discreetly. But no, he is doing it in front of the congregation, while knowing very well, that the people there will be highly upset, in a manner that they even would like to kill him.
It stands to reason, that people that follow the Holy Spirit, would be persecuted, because the effects and the works of the Holy Spirit just would not fit into this world order and religious systems. Maybe it is necessary that in Germany and Europe there will be persecution at those places, where the Holy Spirit is allowed to take effect in a bizarre way. This shall happen that as many as possible in Germany (and probably also in Europe) will come to faith in Jesus.
In many churches there is no discernment of the spirits. Instead of that you will find more the mindset to think in patterns. (Is that pattern fitting or not?).
Because of that it is so important, that we exercise the discernment of spirits in order to be sure in discerning of spirits, so that people that believe in Jesus will not miss the most important and best what the Holy Spirit would keep available for them: The new wine, that Jesus will pour out in the last days. It will only remain in new wine skins.
The story in the bible in Mark 3 continues like this: Jesus escapes and many people are following him. Those, who came to him, were likely not religious leaders. Those, who came to him believed, that the kingdom of God in Jesus is in the midst of them. In those days the Kingdom of God was in their midst through Jesus himself – and today the Kingdom of God is in the midst of us and in us through the Holy Spirit.
Because of that it is so important, to have in mind, that we must not have fear against unusual effects of the Holy Spirit, because Jesus is with us.
Faith improves becomes strong through contradiction from others. Signs and wonders manifest, especially through those, who proclaim the wonderful, supernatural reality of Jesus Christ, even when others disagree. Faith needs the the contradiction, to be strong.
(c) Steffen Bürger