Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Bent Out of Shape Leader

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.  Exodus 20:8-10

Luke paints a descriptive word picture with dark overtones of the bent out of shape leader in the synagogue. I can see the picture now . . . Jesus heals the lady and she begins to praise God and then others join in the giving of praise.  It’s more than the leader can stand and so jumping to his feet he yells to quiet those rejoicing. His displeasure was apparent as he spoke, “But the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, ‘There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day.’"   He spoke of the 4th Commandment. 

This leader’s keeping of the external Law forced him into a bent of life called tradition.  It would not allow him to see that God was interested in the person who needed rest spiritually, not a mere external keeping of the Sabbath.  This lady needed rest in many aspects … she need to be healed.  God in giving the Sabbath day rest was not looking to hinder and bind, but help.  This leader has missed the whole point of the Law.

Jesus addresses the bent out of shape leader by using a "lesser to greater" principle of help. If God permitted the helping of animals on the Sabbath, would He not want the needs of this lady met, who was created in His image? 

Jesus points out that the leader and all keepers of the law were more concerned for their own animals than for this lady who had a greater need to be healed and loosed.  But the Lord answered him and said, "You hypocrites, does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him? "And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?" As He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him. Luke 13:10-17

We all have the tendency to get stuck in our traditions, viewing them as more important than anything else.  Familiarity breeds indifference.  Indifference often breeds traditions.  Someone has called "tradition" a clock that tells you what time it was!  It is too easy to use our traditions as excuses for not helping others.  J. Vernon McGee states, "It is possible to become so religious and callous that you exclude Jesus from your life too." —

Traditions can be good, but they must never take priority over loving Jesus and helping others. Jesus comes to set us free from our binding traditions so that we might be of greater benefit to God, ourselves and others.  They were talking with the Lord of the Sabbath and did not know it! Jesus asked them to "think about it!" His words stung their hearts because they knew He was right.

Jesus was looking to loose them from their external law keeping, as he had the lady from her infirmity. He cared as much for the religious leader as He did for the lady, for they were both bound up and needed to be loosed. His love is a loosing love. 

Scripture to Claim:
And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. "Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath."  Mark 2:27-28

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