In the third sermon in this series, given by Bruxy Cavey, we take another look at God’s original plan for the world to live without religion. We learn that we do not study Scripture so that we can follow Scripture. We study Scripture so that we can follow Jesus.
Over the last two weeks, Bruxy Cavey has explained the roots of religion, why religion is not the will of God, and how Jesus displayed un-religiosity in his life. If the Garden of Eden is how we understand God’s desire for us to be in relationship with him, then our conclusion should be that it was never God’s hope to have religion in the picture. Jesus’ life was all about his displaying the freedom humanity is given to no longer be subject to religion.
We are given a few examples of this through the miracles Jesus performed. In both the story of the disabled man at the Pool of Bethesda, and the blind man whose eyes were covered with mud, Jesus is bringing a message that was heard loud and clear in 1st century Judaism. Jesus was declaring that he had divine power and more so than that he was this divine power. He was displaying to the people in Jerusalem that he was the Beginning and the End–the Alpha and the Omega. Jesus was bringing the earth the Good News. Not just good news, but the best news they ever received. God is with you, among you, and living inside of you. God has thrown out religion as a means to be in relationship with him.
Part of what we miss in these stories, as 21st century followers, is just how bold Jesus was in displaying his power through these two miracles. In both instances, Jesus heals these men on the Sabbath, which is breaking the laws of the Sabbath. Jesus goes one step further in both miracles though, when he makes a point to break the Sabbath even further than the healings alone. The man he healed at the Pool of Bethesda is told by Jesus to, “Pick up your mat and walk.” This is a verse that is commonly known within Christianity today. However, the shocking aspect of Jesus’ command is often lost. By Jesus commanding the man to carry his mat was to defy the laws of the Jews even further, since no Jew was to carry anything on the Sabbath. In the miracle of the blind man, Jesus mixes dirt and water, as the means by which to heal the man. In the simple act of mixing the dirt and water, Jesus again breaks the Sabbath, since no man is to mix anything on that day. The Jews believed that to mix was to do work.
Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are all declaring the Kingdom of God is at hand and already here. There is to be no more religion, because there will be no religion in the Kingdom of God. Jesus has given his followers the role of bringing this Kingdom of God into the world further. We are a people who are not rescued by going up, but by bringing the Kingdom down.
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