Excited about the opportunity to share with saints at WAFBEC, Pst Robert Madu started his charge from Mark 2:23 – 28; 3: 1 – 6. That was the account where Jesus brought healing and deliverance to a man but pharisees had issues with Jesus that they started plotting to kill Jesus. He prophesied that as the man’s hand was completely restored, all what we lost in 2020 will be restored this year.
He quickly mentioned three lessons 2020 taught him, particularly in regard to the pandemic and lockdown.
First: our teachers are underpaid.
Second: your greatest ability is adaptability.
Third: the church is essential, not optional. And though you are the church, there’s something about when we come together.
He continued by saying the same way you cannot see yourself except with the aid of a mirror, you don’t have a clue what you look like right now. Therefore you need new year recognition of what God wants to change in your life. In his exact words, “Change must first be preceded by an awareness. We need to see something before we can address it.”
What is it like to be on the other side of you? How do you know you are a good husband or wife, or parent when you’re not the one on the other side? The pharisees could see other people’s faults and issues but they couldn’t see what was wrong with themselves. Jesus always reveals to them though what they couldn’t see about themselves.
He pointed out some of the issues of the pharisees. One of the errors of the pharisees is that they were simply jealous of Jesus. Expect jealousy if you’re doing anything significant, he said. “Jealousy is the trophy that mediocrity gives to excellence.”
Another issue they had is that they did not like the claims of Jesus, like his claim as the son of the living God. They also had issues with those Jesus hung out with. They didn’t like the fact that Jesus freely hung around sinners.
The major issue though that got them to crucify him is that he challenged their traditions and broke their rules. He referenced some examples where Jesus broke their sabbath rule, beginning with his focus text. Jesus chose to heal and restore the man on the sabbath day. And that really got the pharisees furious.
There’s really nothing as self-help; you’re too helpless to help yourself.
He mentioned the woman with infirmity that made her back bent for eighteen years. Jesus restored her on the Sabbath. (Luke 13:10 – 17)
He also mentioned the man at the pool of Bethesda who had been there for 38 years. Though he had missed his season for 38 years, an encounter with Jesus changed his story – and it happened on a sabbath day. (John 5)
His final reference was the man born blind that Jesus healed on the Sabbath, John 9:
When his disciples asked him who sinned that brought the situation on the man, Jesus clearly made them understand that it had nothing to do with anybody’s sin but that the glory of God might be made manifest. Suffering is not always a result of a direct result of your actions or decisions, he reassured. Sometimes, God just wants to get glory out of the situation.
He continued saying that the pharisees literally stalked Jesus and followed him even though they didn’t like him. Their intent though is to see if he will break their rules. At the grain field, they confronted him and Jesus reminded them of David who went in to take shewbread only meant for the priests and even gave some to his men (Matt 12:1 – 8). They knew the law but not the author of it, Pastor Madu affirmed. They elevated their code of conduct over compassion for people.
He spoke about the man with the withered hand. (Matt 12:10, Mark 3:5) People will define you by your issues and dysfunctions, he said. You’re more than your mistakes. In the same way the man had learned to live with the withered hand, you too might have learnt to live with certain dysfunctions in your life and have probably given up on hope of restoration. But God is restoring you.
Jesus kept flipping the script on the pharisees, and making all they have made complex simple. Religion makes the simple complex but grace always makes the complex simple, he affirmed. Jesus commanded the man to stretch forth his hand, and in that same way God will have us stretch in obedience to the Lord’s command. And as you stretch, you will see the restoration.
He rounded off praying that God restore the years that the locust had eaten, restoration in every area of our lives. This is our year of restoration, he declared.