Choose Life

“And He said to the man who had the withered hand, ‘Step forward.’ Then He said to them, ‘Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they kept silent. And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.” Mark 3:3-5

The profound thing Jesus reveals through His miracle on the Sabbath is that there are two ways to obey God’s word. One leads to death and the other to life. One simply listens to the surface-level meaning of God’s word, the other listens to the heart behind it.

Jesus, Healer of the Soul

“When Jesus heard it, He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.’” Mark 2:17

It appears in Mark 2 that the scribes and Pharisees were walking by Levi’s (a tax collector) house as he was hosting a party filled with the rejects of society. I can almost see the scribes and Pharisees walking by with their eyebrows raised and faces snarled when they saw Jesus and the disciples in the midst of the party. Then they pointed their self-righteous fingers down at them and said with a loud voice for all to hear, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus then replied, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” 

The Compromising Church

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, “These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword.” Revelation 2:12

Wow, what an intimidating greeting. Why did Jesus introduce Himself to the church in Pergamos as “He who has the sharp two-edged sword”? The sin that the church in Pergamos struggled with most was the sin of compromise. Although Jesus commended them for holding fast to His name and not denying the faith, He was greatly displeased they had allowed the unhealthy practices of the culture around them to seep into their church. 

Jesus, Healer of the Heart

“And immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, ‘Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?’” Mark 2:8

It has been said that at the heart of every problem is a problem with the heart. When I say the heart I really mean the soul. The soul is the principle of life, feeling, thought and actions. Before a person’s heart can be healed there has to be a diagnosis of what the problem is first.

The Sweet Smelling Aroma of Smyrna

“I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich).” Revelation 2:9

Jesus spoke these wonderful words to the church in Smyrna. The name “Smyrna” means “bitter” and is related to the word “myrrh”. The city of Smyrna was a major port of trade for myrrh. Myrrh is a perfume, and the way the fragrance is released is by crushing it. When crushed, it gives off a wonderful fragrance. It has been used for anointing oil, perfume, embalming and medications for thousands of years. 

Jesus, the Life Changer

“Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’” Mark 1:14-15

“Jesus came preaching the gospel.” Why? Because the gospel of Jesus changes lives. When Jesus began His ministry He preached to anyone and everyone willing to hear, and to many who didn’t want to hear. The word “gospel” simply means “good news”. The gospel is the good news that the kingdom of God has come, that God is with us and that He cares for us. The good news is that He can heal us from both physical and spiritual sickness. The good news is that there is no sin problem too great or too small for Him to handle.

The Loveless Church

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7

Each of the seven letters to the churches in Revelation ends with an amazing exhortation. The words of the Spirit are the very words of our loving Savior. All seven letters were to be read to the churches, and all those who heard and heeded His words are told they would overcome. But what would they overcome? We usually think this is referring to overcoming sin, but here Jesus seems to be talking about overcoming a lack of love for God. The first letter is to the church of Ephesus and their main problem was that they had left their first love.


“It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove (Mark 1:9-10).”

In the beginning, before the creation of the heavens and the earth, the Spirit is described as hovering over the face of the waters. Similarly, at Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit is described as descending like a dove. This reveals to us that just as the Spirit hovered over the waters before the original creation, the Spirit also hovered over Jesus because He was going to do a new creation.