Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Judges 11-12; Luke 6:1-26
6 On another Sabbath, Jesus entered a synagogue to teach. A man was there whose right hand was withered. 7 The legal experts and the Pharisees were watching him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. They were looking for a reason to bring charges against him. 8 Jesus knew their thoughts, so he said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” He got up and stood there. 9 Jesus said to the legal experts and Pharisees, “Here’s a question for you: Is it legal on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 Looking around at them all, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he did and his hand was made healthy. 11 They were furious and began talking with each other about what to do to Jesus. (Matthew 6:6-11, Common English Bible)
You can tell by looking at me, I haven’t missed very many meals in my life, Sabbath or not. I get where the disciples were coming from when they were picking the heads of grain and eating them. What I have more trouble understanding is, how picking enough heads of grain to eat while walking through a field could possibly be considered work. I remember mowing the yard on Sunday (Not by choice. Mowing the yard was never by choice). That seemed likely to be more work than picking a few heads of grain for lunch.
Probably what bothers me more in the passage more is, the Pharisees getting all hot and bothered because Jesus actually helped somebody, a man with a withered hand, on the Sabbath. What was wrong with those folks? Wouldn’t they want someone in need to have help, even if that meant breaking a religious law? Wouldn’t it be what God wanted, for the person in need to receive the help they need?
The laws of the Bible are important. We should look to follow the law. And, we might want to watch the things we say about “The Bible says…” because there might be places where we too are breaking the Biblical law.
A seminary classmate and I were having lunch one day and discussing some issue of Biblical law we thought was important that particular day. I don’t remember the issue for that particular day (these discussions happened regularly around some issue or another) but I do remember that I had the conservative side of the argument and absolutely remember saying, “Well the Bible says…” My lunch partner quietly replied, “You mean like the Bible says about that bacon cheeseburger you are eating?”
There were at least two Hebrew dietary laws I was breaking. Who knows, maybe there were more right then and I feel absolutely certain that throughout my life there have been many more.
So, was Jesus breaking the law by healing on the Sabbath and forgiving sins? It may be, though I seriously doubt it. What I do know is, Jesus was pointing here as Jesus points to numerous times, the law of love is superior to any of the other laws we might follow.
It also says to me, whether we are involved in healing someone of a physical, mental, spiritual, emotional or other kind of hurting or feeding the hungry on the Sabbath or many other things, Jesus reminds us here and elsewhere, the most important thing is still to love God and love each other. We cannot use one in order to ignore the other. We are called to love, even on Sunday.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved