Think This Through
10 August 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: John 7:21-24 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
21 Jesus replied, “I worked on the Sabbath by healing a man, and you were offended. 22 But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.) 23 For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath? 24 Think this through so you can judge correctly.” (John 7:21–24 NLT)
Here’s a graphic picture of legalism: The Jewish leaders were so locked into the traditions of their religious rules that they thought that keeping a rule about not working on the Sabbath was more important than Jesus doing a miracle of healing a man who had been crippled for many years! And yet, Moses’ law specified a certain number of days after a boy baby was born for circumcision. If that day happened to fall on a Sabbath, they did the circumcision. They were, in effect, breaking one of Moses’ rules to keep another.
But then, Jesus healed a crippled man, gave him a whole new life, on the Sabbath! He broke one of Moses’ rules in order to keep a greater rule—doing good! And for this, they resisted, opposed, and were making plans to kill Jesus! Which was violating a fundamental law of God, “Don’t commit murder!”
God gave us laws—“Do these things, don’t do these things.” Simple and clear. But life is complicated. So religion interprets the laws God gave and comes up with traditions and rules—“Do this, except in the case of..., don’t do this, except in the case of…” That’s necessary, you know. We have to interpret the law in order to apply the rule in real life. See, that’s the problem here. If they had thought it through, they could have concluded that it’s always right to do good, even if it breaks a rule. Some laws (Love your neighbor as you love yourself) are higher than others (Don’t do any work on the Sabbath). My 11-year-old grandson can figure that out!
Law without the Spirit makes us brain-dead and love-blind. Think it through!
Father, Please help us to think things through. Don’t let us be brain-dead and love-blind to the point that we care more about the rule than about doing good. Please! Amen.