Monday, October 1, 2012

Difficult Decisions





Scripture

It happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely.
(Luke 14:1 NASB)
And there in front of Him was a man suffering from dropsy.
(Luke 14:2 NASB)
And Jesus answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?”
(Luke 14:3 NASB)
But they kept silent. And He took hold of him and healed him, and sent him away.
(Luke 14:4 NASB)
And He said to them, “Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?”
(Luke 14:5 NASB)
And they could make no reply to this.
(Luke 14:6 NASB)

 

Observation

The Pharisees saw the world in black and white. They had memorized all the rules and regulations and believed that they were the protectors of those rules. They had no ability to think outside the box of those rules and when Jesus made them think that the moral law might be contradictory to their black and white laws, they didn't want to respond. They simply kept silent. Then he turned the question into a personal one -- what if this were your child?

 

Application

Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a neat and tidy world in which decisions could always be made according to a simple list of rules? The reality is that things are much more complex and the issues of this world are much messier than any of us would probably ever want to believe. Sometimes solutions can be found in a list of rules, but sometimes they cannot. Jesus was challenging the Pharisees to look beyond the written law to the higher moral authority which was at work in that situation. Would God deprive someone of the gift of healing just because it was the wrong day of the week?

Long before this time the prophet Ezekiel had prophesied that God's children would no longer have a heart of stone but a heart of flesh and that God's law would be written in their hearts. Jesus' action here is a glimpse of what is to come, a time when the law would move from hearts of stone to hearts of flesh. The Pharisees had hearts of stone, and for them the laws were concrete! Jesus had a the heart of flesh and for him, the love of God would guide him. The love of God and his personal relationship with God shaped his heart, not the rules. He was revealing the future which was a restoration of the relationship with a personal God and not a people who were trying to follow a stiff set of rules. When we become aligned to God and are walking daily in a personal relationship with him, then we become guided by the very heart of God. Jesus commanded his people to show mercy -- and by showing mercy they would fulfill the purpose for which they were created. Become a holy people through the power of the Holy Spirit and the nature of God will be revealed in you. Decisions will not always be easy but you will look upon the situation as if it were your child, your son or daughter, and you will not make the black and white decision, but the compassionate decision of our Lord.

 

Prayer


Lord, please help me to walk daily in your grace. Amen.

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