Luke 6:1-26; Genesis 3; Genesis 4; Genesis 5; Psalm 2
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?’” (Luke 6:9 NKJV)
The Pharisees were the defenders of the Law. They get a bad name in Christian circles, but we must understand them in the context of their times. The prophets of old who had declared the sins of the people as they proclaimed the word of God all included one sin God’s people were involved in: desecrating the Sabbath. So, one of the things they did was set up a series of laws designed to make sure that the Jews wouldn’t desecrate the Sabbath again. They might have been under Roman rule, but, by the grace of God, they were in Israel. They studied the Law when it talked about the Sabbath and “built a fence” around the Law so that people wouldn’t be able to break the Sabbath, only to have Jesus come through and blow them out of the water, so to speak. They worked so hard studying the words of the Law that they missed the spirit of the Law. They failed to understand the God gave the Sabbath for the benefit of people, not to restrict them. Jesus’s simple question cut through the veil of their understanding of how God works.
God’s laws, when understood in light of grace, aren’t designed to be restrictive, their designed to bring joy to life. Too often, I tend to be pharisaical about things. My children bore the brunt of that in my younger years. While I’ve gotten better in general, there are times I become legalistic in the way I deal with things. Oh, there’s still right and wrong in this world, and God’s Laws show us the right way; but there’s never hate for those who break His laws. God continues to offer grace and love to all people. He wants the best for each of us. If God loves all people and offers them grace, we should follow His example and do the same.
As you think about today, how often did you react with anger instead of grace when people did wrong? Perhaps it was in the car. Maybe there were issues with family members, especially if a lot more were at home than normal because of the holidays. Maybe your anger rose as you watched sports. Contemplate on those situations, and imagine how much more enjoyable your day would have been if you’d extended God’s love and grace to others.
Lord, remind me that I’m supposed to be Your ambassador or reconciliation, spreading Your love and grace to others. Help me avoid the pitfall of being unpleasantly right.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.