58 – Judean Mission Continues
Where: Perea and Judea
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Jesus spent the next five months traveling around Judea from his base in Perea. As before, he sent out disciples two by two to prepare his way. From mid October through February of 30 AD, they went from town to town. There were times that they were caught in the rain, and the nights did get quite cold.
In one town, on the Sabbath, Jesus attended a Synagogue, something he almost always did. As he was entering he noticed a bent over old woman entering the women’s section. He was moved to pity so he called to her, and she waited for him. He looked her straight in the eyes and asked her if she wanted to be healed. She looked up at him and expressed her concerns. ‘For eighteen years I have not been able to stand up straight’, she said, ‘yes’, she sighed, ‘I want to be healed.’
So Jesus put a hand on her shoulder and one in the middle of her back and told her to stand up straight. And she did. Everyone was amazed and stood in awe. She thanked Jesus profusely and praised God as she entered the synagogue.
The reading chosen by the leader for that day was from Exodus and the person who expounded on the text condemned Jesus for working on the Sabbath. ‘As glad as we are that a daughter of Abraham has been set free, it was a violation of the Law to do it on the Sabbath. We do not want to break God’s Law even by accident. God said not to work on the Sabbath. It was not a life threatening ailment and therefore Jesus should have done the work of healing on another day.’ The crowd seemed to agree.
Jesus was not “politically correct” in his response. ‘You are either hypocrite or blind. There are very few of you who would not unbind a rope [removing a knot was a violation of the law] on the Sabbath to lead a thirsty animal to water. Yet you say that it is wrong for me to unbind this woman from a knot tied by Satan. Love must balance law so that there will be justice. Why can you not see? Because your leaders are blind.’
As he journeyed about in southern Canaan he prepared people to see the way that the Kingdom would grow. The path that a person must travel had serious restrictions for those who would chose to be citizens of the Kingdom.
There were some Pharisees who did not want to see Antipas arrest Jesus. At one point they actually sent Jesus a warning that Antipas, who ruled over Perea, might send soldiers. Jesus, who was in Perea at the time, knew that he must go to Jerusalem, the killer of prophets, to force the leaders to choose between following the habitual path, or following God’s Spirit. And that “road” Jesus would travel soon. Jesus saw the pressure of antagonism building in the religious establishment because of his continual questioning of the leadership, and his continuing mission to sinners and the Gentiles.
On another Sabbath Jesus healed a man with a build up of fluids in his tissues and Jesus met resistance. He then spoke of how people will be selected for the great Kingdom Banquet and how God will rejoice when “lost” souls are saved. This invitation did, in fact, have a cost that one should consider. Jesus taught that he was not sent to those who believed that they were spiritually safe, rather he was sent to those who had become spiritually lost.
No questions have been asked yet.