Tuesday, February 17. Matthew 12:1-14.
Jesus was a trouble maker. Today’s reading shows us two examples of how Jesus made the religious leaders furious. Both stories have to do with the same theme: Jesus chose mercy over following the rules.
The law of Moses said that everyone should rest on the seventh day. That is called observing the Sabbath. Do you know why God gave the sabbath law to the people? The people had been slaves for four hundred years and had never known rest of any kind. Rest is healthy. Everybody needs a day off once a week. Everybody…even slaves. That was the point.
Like all of the laws of Moses, the point of the Sabbath was to give life, not to freak everybody out with fear if you broke the law.
Isn’t it interesting how quickly we religious people like to take something that is a wonderful gift from a loving God and turn it into the iron-clad law of an angry, power-hungry tyrant? Do you know why we do that? Because we are control freaks. We like to be able to control our lives, our world, and everyone in it. I think it makes us feel safe.
Jesus came to turn that thinking upside down. It is all summed up in that one phrase of his, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” In other words, I would rather you actually love people than go through the motions of religious ritual and miss the point.
There is really only one law for those who follow Jesus. Here it is: What does God’s love look like in this situation?
As you go through your day, use that question to evaluate every situation. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in the answer. That’s called walking in the way of Jesus. Happy walking!