01 October 2009


Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in religious law, “Well, is it permitted in the law to heal people on the Sabbath day, or not?” (Luke 14:3 NLT)

It was the Sabbath Day and Jesus was a guest in the home of a prominent Pharisee. A man was in the room who obviously needed to be healed, so the Pharisee and his friends watched closely to see if Jesus would violate the Sabbath rules by “working.”

Jesus challenged them to think about whether the law against working on the Sabbath was a principle to be applied using common sense or a technical issue to be blindly obeyed, even if it meant not helping someone in need.

They refused to answer because they didn’t want to think about it.

The advantage of religion is that it’s clear. “Do this” and “Don’t do that” and you don’t have to think about it. Just do it. (Or just don’t do it!)

The challenge of following Jesus is that you do have to think about things. You have to wrestle with the tension between the “letter of the law” and the “spirit of the law.” Jesus is continually asking questions that we can’t avoid thinking about and we can’t not answer. Being a follower of Jesus means being put in situations where we have to think and pray and find the way to live from the heart and not just from the religious rule book.

Following Jesus is better than religion, but it’s not easier!


Father, help me be like Jesus who watched what you do and listened to what you say and then spoke and acted accordingly. Help me break free from the paralysis of religion and live dangerously in the freedom of a Spirit-led life. I purpose today to watch and listen and think about the questions you challenge me to wrestle with. May my answer to your questions and my response to your promptings be pleasing to your heart. Amen.

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