Hunkered Down Devotion

Luke 6:6-11 (Voice)
6 On another Sabbath, Jesus entered the synagogue and taught there. In the congregation was a man who had a deformed right hand. 7 The religious scholars and Pharisees watched Jesus; they suspected that He might try to perform a healing on that day, which they would use as evidence to convict Him of Sabbath-breaking.
8 Jesus knew about their plan, and He told the man with the deformed hand to come and stand in front of everyone. The man did so. 9 Then Jesus spoke directly to the religious scholars and Pharisees.
Jesus: Here’s a question for you: On the Sabbath Day, is it lawful to do good or to do harm? Is it lawful to save life or to destroy it?
10 He turned His gaze to each of them, one at a time. Then He spoke to the man.
Jesus: Stretch your hand out.
As the man did, his deformed hand was made normal again. 11 This made the Pharisees and religious scholars furious. They began discussing together what they would do to Jesus.


If you don’t already know this about me, let me just say that I am a rule follower by nature.  I don’t mean to in any way imply that I don’t do things wrong or that I am perfect (no one would believe that!), but I have just always felt more comfortable ‘coloring inside the lines’ as opposed to ‘asking for forgiveness instead of permission’.  

I share this to make it clear that I am not a ‘rules were made to be broken’ kind of guy.  I like to think this philosophy has served me well over the years, and probably kept me out of some trouble over the years.  

When it comes to interactions between Jesus and the Pharisee’s however, being on the side of the rules – and the Pharisee’s - often puts you on the opposite side of Jesus.  While for those of you that might be more natural rule-breakers, this might seem like a license to ignore  the rules.  But what is going on here, isn’t quite so simple.  The question we need to ask is why is Jesus willing to break the rules here?

First, what is the rule that Jesus breaks, infuriating the Pharisee’s?  Jesus healed a man with a deformed hand.   What can be wrong with that?  The timing is the issue, as Jesus encountered and healed this man on the Sabbath.  

The Pharisee’s devoted much time and dozens of rules about just what was and wasn’t allowed to do on the Sabbath.  Doing anything that could be considered work on the Sabbath, the day each week set aside by God for rest, was strictly prohibited.  

In this situation, and in several other similar situations documented in the gospels, Jesus is presented with a choice between honoring a law – and not just any law, not some foreign government’s law, but a law of God, drawn directly from scripture – and helping someone in need.   When the choice is framed in that way, all that we know about Jesus means that there really can only be one option.  

Jesus is always going to be predisposed to helping those in need.  In fact, that is the whole reason for the incarnation, Jesus came to earth, became human, so that he might bring the help, healing, and wholeness that only connection with God can bring.  

This is the message for us this and every day (even on the Sabbath): whenever we are presented with a choice – when helping someone is one of the options, that is, really, the only choice.  Our call is to follow Jesus, to choose people and to bring God’s love and rule-breaking grace to others, just as we have received it ourselves.
 
Sharing God’s Love, 
Chip  

Prayer:   Lord, thank you for coming to help us.  Give us wisdom to know when to choose people over rules.  Amen.

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