Numbers 1-2 Mark 3:1-19
“Then Jesus asked the people, ‘Which is lawful on the Sabbath day: to do good or to do evil, to save a life or to kill?’ But they said nothing to answer him.” (Mark 3:4 NCV)
The Pharisees were great at drawing lines. Part of their reason for living was to build boundaries around the Law of God so that people wouldn’t break the Law of God. They might be excused for that. They came into being after the Jewish exile which was a result of unfaithfulness to God’s Law. They didn’t want to experience another exile themselves, and with the Roman threat hanging over their heads, it should be easy to understand their feelings. Only, they didn’t understand God, which made it hard to enforce God’s Law. God’s Law was designed to make life better, not make life hard. One of the lines that the Pharisees established is illustrated in this story about Jesus healing on the Sabbath. The Pharisees enforced a strict “no-work” policy on the Sabbath, although they built in work arounds for themselves. Jesus acted on the principle that service to the least among people served God and healed the man.
When Jesus asked His question and received no response, He was angry. He was angry because these “great” religious leaders had no compassion for one of God’s children. It’s a message that’s important for our age. We get into political debates where we use and abuse people. We claim the provenance of God for our own opinion and get so involved in trying to justify ourselves and making sure that people realize that WE are right, and they aren’t, that we often forget to have compassion on those around us. Henry Clay is famous for saying, “I’d rather be right than President.” As I follow Jesus all I can say is that I’d rather show compassion than be right.
Lord, as I deal with people who are hurting, help me to show Your compassion and grace.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.