Today’s post is from my new book Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus). Last Saturday we posted Chapter 22: Love Like Jesus — Heal Like Jesus. Love Like Jesus is due to be published later this year.
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. The church I was attending at that time 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 at the time was 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, and I can hardly stand to miss a service.
I can hardly stand to miss a service but . . . but this lady who was in obvious distress. 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 her friend’s house about 15 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 wanted us to do, and to be precisely where God wanted us to be on that Sunday morning. 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.” Jesus expressed love to people when his Sabbath was disrupted, when his teaching was interrupted, when his prayers were disrupted, and when his travels were interrupted. (Mark 1:21-26, 35-39, 40-42) When Jesus’ Sabbath was disrupted, and when Jesus was interrupted in general, he responded by loving people.
“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, or his prayer, or his teaching, or his travels, or, it would seem, anytime he was interrupted.
You can love like Jesus by helping someone, even if it means disrupting your Sabbath. When your Sabbath’s disrupted, or when you’re interrupted for any reason, thank God for the interruption and ask Him: “Where’s the opportunity to express Jesus’ love in this?”
A Word About The Sabbath Rhythm
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 chapter 11, “Guard Your Heart Like Jesus”) 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 (or anything else) as a reason not to act on the Holy Spirit’s leading to engage people with Jesus’ love.
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly . . .
1 Peter 4:8
Image of Interrupted Man via Mario Antonio Pena Zapat… – Creative Commons