to save or destroy

save-destroy The following story takes place on the day of the Sabbath, as Jesus interacts with a man who has a shriveled hand.  Read the story to learn what happens…

Jesus Heals on the Sabbath (Mark 3:1-6)

Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath.  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 destroy?” 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.Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

My dad recently reminded me of this story and drew my attention to the people’s reaction to what Jesus was doing.  Rather than respond in awe and gratitude for the miracle Jesus performed, the people were more concerned with whether or not it was lawful for Him to heal on the Sabbath.  My dad then challenged me to think about the ways that we as Christians are often so preoccupied with determining whether things are “right” or “wrong” that we forget to appreciate the work that God is doing in the lives of others.  I’ve been thinking a lot about this and about ways that I sometimes see myself and the church unintentionally following in the footsteps of the Pharisees, rather than following Jesus.

 Are we so concerned with executing our interpretation of the law that we not only fail to see God’s work, but even inhibit it?  What are some examples today where our actions may result in the destruction of life because of our obsession with the law, rather than God’s healing grace?

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