Serving the Law or People
Luke 14:1 ¶ One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully.
Luke 14:2 And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy.
Luke 14:3 And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?”
Luke 14:4 But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away.
Luke 14:5 And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?”
Luke 14:6 And they could not reply to these things.
The Law of God was a really good thing. It helped the people coming from a life of slavery to have a life of structure, rules, and justice. But people aren’t really very good at keeping laws. Even the guy with face-to-face daily contact with God couldn’t keep the one and only law he had!
So here is Jesus, surrounded by experts in the Law. Not just Adam’s law, or even Moses’ law, but in the entire Babylonian commentary on the Torah which consisted of thousands and thousands of rules and laws.
But with all of that, they still couldn’t even say if it was right to heal a guy on the Sabbath or not.
Rules and laws are often good at first and have good intentions. But once the law becomes the point and loving others is lost, the law needs to be double-checked.
We have a little rule that nobody eats until the person that cooked the meal takes the first bite. The intent was out of respect and patience and honor. When some zealots at the table start shouting “Don’t eat yet!” and a fight breaks out, the honor of the law has been lost. Mom can’t enjoy her meal after cleaning up the broken beer bottles and repairing the front window. (Why does someone always get thrown out the front window in brawls?)
When Jesus says that the Sabbath was made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath, He means that the Law, rules, the whole bit, is made to be a servant of people. Even when Paul calls the Law a schoolmaster, it was to serve the student and to bring her to Christ. We serve the Lord, not the Law.
So the next time we get in that mode where we are paralyzed because we don’t know if we should follow the rule or welcome Christ into the situation, look for Christ! Immediately pull that kid or that ox right out and don’t get hung up on what day of the week it is.
People like the Pharisees are watching to see which is more important, your rules or people. Both of those may have been made by God, but only one of those choices was made in His image to be eternal.
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