“Challenging The Law That Enslaves!”(Lk.24:1-6).
It is a Sabbath (Sunday). Jesus goes to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee. He is being carefully watched. In front of Jesus is a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus turns to the Pharisees and the experts in the law and ask, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” There is no response. Jesus heals the man and sends him away.
He asks them further, “If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will he not immediately pull him out?”
“And they had nothing to say.”
We do not become enemies because we do not share the same point of view – especially in matters of faith.
The Pharisee invited Jesus to share at table, and Jesus accepted without any qualms.
Today, we his disciples say we should stay away from those who do not share our points of view. Those who disagree with our sometimes unscriptural manipulative points of view are declared anathema! We cover-up our incontinency by recruiting the gullible ignorant, but well-intentioned seekers of Christ to join us hate those we hate.
Jesus mixes freely with the religious authorities whom he seeks to correct. They should not only meet in Church. The Church is neither a structure nor a denomination. The Church is everywhere and the gospel has to be articulated and practiced whenever and wherever the opportunity avails!
Jesus may not have been a guest of honour, but “he was being carefully watched” by the monitoring spirits in the guise of Pharisees and experts in the law. For them it was a Sabbath on which no healing should be effected.
Maybe the dropsy patient was intentionally placed in front of Jesus to see what he would do. That is why he was being carefully watched.
Jesus decides to test their proper understanding of the true practice of religion.
The religion of the Pharisees and the experts in the law were inimical to what God wants. Yet what God hates is what they were ready to kill for in its defense.
God says, “I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies… Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.”
What God requires is that “let justice roll like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”(Am.5:21-24).
That is why they were silent when Jesus asked to know if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not. Can it be justice if you deprive someone the opportunity to be healed under the pretext of religious observance?
Worst demonstration of injustice is when selective justice is the rule! Tell me, in such a system of selective justice where can the nobodies find justice?
When Jesus ask to know who of them will not save his son or ox on the Sabbath, they had nothing to say.
They couldn’t say it because they knew what they will do. But they would not want that privilege to be extended to this man. What a shame to a collective warped up conscience!
What happens when injustice becomes the rule?
One other thing: This was not just an ordinary meal, it was a banquet. Different classes of people were invited and Jesus noticed how people were picking places of honour.
But that’s not the issue here.
The issue here is that it was a Sabbath (Sunday). If it happened today it should be that once after worship service people were free to socialize.
However, for Jesus there is no fixed time for teaching and doing the things of the kingdom. Jesus did not only heal the man at that social gathering; he also taught the important lesson about love and justice. The law was made for man, man was not made for the law.
We should learn to be tolerant of others, rather than being judgmental of their tastes and choices because they are distasteful to us.
To his own master each one stands or falls. We are not in a position to judge somebody’s servants (Rom.14:1-6).
It is lawful to heal on the Sabbath but it is unlawful to set a trap to catch somebody on the Sabbath. Sometimes the unscriptural laws that are imposed on believers are unnecessary and only intended to trap some people. Jesus says, laws that are a violation to the human rights of some, and not of all should be abrogated.
Sunday prayer: Dear God, help us to make paradise here on earth for everybody without discrimination. Amen!
Have a blessed Sunday! Peace be with you!
Rev Babila Fochang.