Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.
How Jesus Loved People
Jesus cared more about loving the man with the withered hand, than He did about keeping the Pharisee’s tradition concerning the Sabbath.
How to Love Like Jesus
She was walking on the shoulder of the road, in bare feet, on a day when it was too cold to be out in bare feet. Her mascara ran in the shape of a capital U down both cheeks. She was crying. No, she was sobbing.
Kathy and I were on our way to church. The drive takes you through the beautiful mountains between the Rogue and Applegate valleys. My church is an amazing place. It’s an example of how God can do anything He wants to do, anywhere He wants to do it, because our church is in a beautiful but remote location, yet every week thousands travel there to attend services. It doesn’t make any sense. There’s no human logic to it. The teaching and the worship are outstanding, they’re anointed, and I can hardly stand to miss a service.
I can hardly stand to miss a service but… but this lady… What would God have us do?
What We Did
Kathy and I fired up a quick prayer, turned around, and offered her a ride. As we listened, we learned she was crying because she just left an abusive boyfriend who had done her harm. She was barefoot because she left in a hurry. After hearing her story we asked her if we could pray for her. She said yes, so we did.
There was no way she could return home so we took her to a friend’s house about fifteen miles away from our church.
We missed our visit to God’s house that day. But I believe we were led by the Holy Spirit to do precisely what God desired we should do, and to be precisely where God wanted us to be. During the ride over to her friend’s, we encouraged her to go to our church, and over the next several weeks we saw her there, receiving counseling from pastors.
I just heard it said a few days ago, “Human need trumps religious creed. Love trumps the law.”
“Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil…?” Jesus asked–rhetorically.
He’s telling you, and telling me…
It’s good to do good on the Sabbath.
Jesus loved people, even when it meant disrupting His Sabbath.
You can too.
A Word of Caution
I feel compelled to add this word of caution because today, most people discount the Sabbath, if they don’t ignore it completely. That’s not the rhythm God has in mind for you or for me. (see previous post: Love Like Jesus–Love and the Sabbath) There’s a balance here. It’s clear from the gospels, Jesus lived in God’s rhythm of the Sabbath. What Jesus did in chapter three of Mark stands out because He did something out of the ordinary. What we can learn from Jesus healing the man with the withered hand is not that we should ignore the Sabbath and engage in work every day. What we can learn is we’re not to use the Sabbath as a reason not to act on the Holy Spirit’s leading to actively love people. Remember to…
Above all, love each other deeply… –1 Peter 4:8