Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the LORD surrounds his people
both now and forevermore. Psalm 125:1-2
Then he went back in the meeting place where he found a man with a crippled hand. The Pharisees had their eyes on Jesus to see if he would heal him, hoping to catch him in a Sabbath infraction.
He said to the man with the crippled hand, “Stand here where we can see you.” Then he spoke to the people: “What kind of action suits the Sabbath best? Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless?” No one said a word.
He looked them in the eye, one after another, angry now, furious at their hardnosed religion. He said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” He held it out—it was as good as new! The Pharisees got out as fast as they could, sputtering about how they would join forces with Herod’s followers and ruin him.
Jesus went off with his disciples to the sea to get away. But a huge crowd from Galilee trailed after them—also from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, across the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon—swarms of people who had heard the reports and had come to see for themselves.
He told his disciples to get a boat ready so he wouldn’t be trampled by the crowd. He had healed many people, and now everyone who had something wrong was pushing and shoving to get near and touch him. Evil spirits, when they recognized him, fell down and cried out, “You are the Son of God!” But Jesus would have none of it. He shut them up, forbidding them to identify him in public. (The Message)
“The center of unrealism was in the Pharisee, the most religious man of the day, and a great deal of the gospel narrative is the story of the clashing of the realism of Jesus with the unreality of the leaders of religion. He saw them compartmentalize their thinking and acting—“tithing mint, anise and passing over justice and the love of God”—justice which is love expressed toward man in human relationships, and love toward God. They didn‘t reject these—they passed them over, put them on the side, inoperative, something to be praised but not practiced, to be worshiped but not worked… This fastening on to certain things in religion that ministered to themselves and passing by the things that demanded change in themselves was to Jesus the essence of unreality.”
-E. Stanley Jones
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”