Got It All Figured Out?

Jesus and the Pharisees had many run-ins and in Luke 6:1-11 we read about two such occasions that took place on the Sabbath.  One Sabbath, Jesus and His disciples were hungry so they picked some grain and rubbed their hands together to get to the kernels in the grain.  The Pharisees had many rules restricting activities on the Sabbath.  It came from a desire to obey God’s Law regarding honoring the Sabbath and keeping it holy.  The problem is that they interpreted that commandment and parsed it to the nth degree!  There were literally thousands of rules based on 39 categories that defined what one could and could not do on the Sabbath.  One source said that one was not allowed to even touch items that could possibly be used for work lest it be used accidentally!  They even had rules regarding whether or not a woman’s hair clip was being worn or being carried (by her hair?).  If it was determined that it was carrying, then it would be forbidden!
On another occasion, Jesus healed a man with a shriveled hand.  The Pharisees and teachers of the Law were watching Jesus.  The Greek word is one that is used to describe covert activity.  These guys are looking for an opportunity to accuse Jesus of sinning by breaking one of the Commandments.  So Jesus makes a very public point.  He has the man with the shriveled hand stand up and Jesus heals him out in the open.  The Pharisees and teachers of the Law are secretly spying on Jesus.  They are being sneaky in their observation of Jesus.  They are hatching a plot to kill Him – ON THE SABBATH!  Jesus, on the other hand, with just words heals this man’s hand.  How was this work?  He spoke and the man was healed!  He heals while others seek to harm.  They just didn’t get it.  In their desire to please God with their obedience, they were plotting to kill His Son.
Too often, we don’t get it.  We want everyone to conform to our interpretation of Scripture’s commands.  We want people to dress like us.  We want people to wear their hair like we think it should be worn.  We want people to sing our favorite songs.  We want people to read our favorite version of the Bible.  If you don’t, then Heaven help you!  “You’re doing it wrong!  Do it like me and everything will be fine!”
The question we should be asking over and over is, “What does Jesus want from me?  How can I please Him?”  If I spend all of my energy trying to please God’s people by living up to their expectations, I will miss what really matters – pleasing God by striving to live up to HIS expectations.  There are people who will interpret Scripture and tell you that they are completely right and there is no other way to see it.  How dare we claim to understand the infinite mind and wisdom of God?!?  We’re all pre-schoolers trying to understand theoretical physics!  God has given us minds to think and interpret to the best of our abilities.  But for anyone to claim that they “have it all figured out” is arrogant and prideful!  Let’s practice grace toward those who understand Scripture a little differently than we do and let’s pray for God’s grace to be upon us when we misunderstand His Word.

Luke 6:1-11 (NIV)

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

6 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. 2 Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

3 Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” 5 Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

6 On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. 7 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. 8 But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there.

9 Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”

10 He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. 11 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.


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