Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?” Luke 14:3 NABRE
Jesus is having dinner at the house of a Pharisee, a scholar of the law and part of a group who continue to watch and judge Jesus for His actions that to them break the religious law. This particular time the Pharisees stood ready to accuse Him of working on the Sabbath as a man stood before Him who is suffering from dropsy (an abnormal swelling of the body because of the retention and accumulation of fluid.) Jesus is aware the religious leaders are waiting for Him to heal the man and they would accuse Him. The Pharisees don’t answer Jesus question about it being lawful to cure on the Sabbath and Jesus heals the man and sends him on his way (obviously not an invited guest.) The law has developed from Moses with some six hundred and thirteen commands, many about purity, and working on the Sabbath, rules that are intended to help people remain pure and holy so that they may honor God. The intention of the law is good, but as Jesus demonstrates law is not always a compassionate approach. Often there are times when the law does not consider specific circumstances and Jesus makes us and the religious leaders of the time aware that law is not love. When someone needs help, and love is the priority, we help despite what strict adherence to the law might require.
We see an interesting contrast in this example of the Pharisee who considers himself first and this suffering man considered last in the community. Jesus teaches it is the last who will be first as He heals the man who leaves a happy person. Meanwhile the Pharisee is rebuked and left feeling dishonored perhaps, not the first in Jesus eyes.
Does your church break the law for love? How do you feel about subverting the law?When someone needs help, and love is the priority, we help despite what strict adherence to the law might require. Click To Tweet
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