Here in the United States of America, our churches have cancelled services all across the country during one of the most important times of the Christian year. This being, our reflection on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of our faith. If Jesus did not shed his blood, as the ultimate sacrifice for all of us, there would be no redemption for our souls.
In the last 100 years, somehow American’s have gotten caught up in the idea that only doctors can save our mortal bodies. They do whatever the doctor tells them to, and take whatever medication is prescribed without a second thought.
It has gotten so bad in Western society, if you even question the medical community – which we all know is severely imperfect – you’re automatically labeled anti-science, and written off as an idiot.
God established perfect order for the world, even to the point He gave us plants that would heal our ailments and illnesses. Ailments and illnesses we have because of the Curse.
The Creator of the Universe loves us so much He planned every last detail of our Exile.
As I sit and write this, my heart is overwhelmed with joy and sorrow by this concept.
Christianity in the world today is a ritual. We go to church, we sing about God, we go home and we do not include that same God in our daily lives.
We don’t ask Him if what we do is good for us, or if what the doctor has given us would be best for our bodies. We put more Faith and Trust in the snake on the staff, than we do our own God.
Many times in Scripture, Jesus addresses the Pharisees at the core of the issue – they are not acting in the interest of God, they are acting on behalf of their own idea of God.
Matthew 15:1-20 is where we’re going to start.
Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat.”
He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’ But you say that whoever tells father or mother, ‘Whatever support you might have had from me is given to God,’ then that person need not honor the father. So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God. You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said:
‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ ((Isaiah 29:13-16))”
Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.”
Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?”
He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.”
But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.”
Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”
Kind of an appropriate place to start in this current plague, the Pharisees come up to Jesus and they’re like, “Hey, why don’t your disciples wash their hands before they eat? Because- it’s what we teach, and it’s one of our traditions.”
Hygiene is very important. Let’s all stop and acknowledge this. Road signs off the highway currently tell us to wash our hands. Washing hands prevents the spread of disease and keeps people healthy. BUT! Jesus doesn’t care about the washing of hands, Jesus cares about their motives.
His response to them is, “why do you break the commandments of God for the sake of your tradition?” In the recording of this story in Mark 7, it says Jesus also added “You neatly set aside the commandment of God to maintain your own tradition.”
What traditions do we follow in our society that set aside the Commands of God?
You might be saying, “Jesus fulfilled the Law, the Law doesn’t matter anymore” and according to some denominational teachings, you would be correct in your perspective. However, if you further study on your own outside of leaning on the understanding of your pastor and denominational doctrines, you will find this is untrue.
Jesus came to be the ultimate sacrifice and therefore we no longer have to sacrifice animals for our redemption, but through the law, Paul says, we become conscious of sin.
Jesus re-established during his time on earth, it is not the law that matters, it is how WE interact with GOD that matters.
Paul is pretty concrete when he says you can’t serve two masters. You have to pick one.
Either GOD is most important, or the Traditions of Man is most important.
Satan is an evil, frustrating demon. From the beginning of time he has been looking for the opportunity to become greater than God. Each time he has ascended to “greatness” God has knocked him right back down through the Glory of His Goodness and supreme reign over the Universe.
So, along comes the Serpent to establish a new, fresh way of conquering God and His people. Their health and wellness.
Let’s talk a minute about the Snake on the Staff. The real one, of course. From the Bible.
Read with me in Numbers 21:4-9
They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”
Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.
Jesus references the snake on the staff is a symbol of HIS own death and salvation.
In the beginning of His ministry, one of the Pharisees came to Jesus and asked Him who He was and what He had been sent by God to do. ((John 3:1-21))
We’re only going to look into a small part of the passage for right now:
No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Our salvation is entirely dependent on the sacrifice of Christ, who was lifted up on a cross to shed his blood for US.
Is your faith and trust dependent on the medical community “finding a cure” or “creating a vaccine”, or is it in the God of the Universe who has already planned ahead of time this would happen, and gave us the cures to our illnesses in nature?
This Resurrection season, it is seriously time to focus in on who your savior is.
If it is Christ, Serve HIM.
Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says:
“Because you have rejected this message,
relied on oppression
and depended on deceit,
this sin will become for you
like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
that collapses suddenly, in an instant.
It will break in pieces like pottery,
shattered so mercilessly
that among its pieces not a fragment will be found
for taking coals from a hearth
or scooping water out of a cistern.”
“Go up to Gilead and get balm,
Virgin Daughter Egypt.
But you try many medicines in vain;
there is no healing for you.