Law or Love

Justin Smith

Matt. 12:9-13 Then Jesus went over to their synagogue, where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?” (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.) And he answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one! Then the Pharisees called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus.
How many times have I been guilty of a scenario just like this? Someone, whom Jesus has placed before me, is hurting and in need of healing, and my heart and eyes are fixed on the duties of the day rather than the desperation of the soul before me. The requirements and regulations that have been placed upon me, and at times those that I have placed upon myself, supersede the calling to heal the sick, bind up the brokenhearted, and set the captives free, and it’s terrible to think that in my pursuit of righteousness my near-sighted actions will soon require repentance. The Pharisees, in their religious fervor, anxiously awaited any excuse to imprison, and kill, Jesus. A man in need came before His healer, and the “righteous”, in their own eyes, demanded correct-ness to their law, rather than compassion from their Lord. They would rather this man suffer than find solace on the Sabbath. Jesus reminds them that true religiosity, evidenced in true love and a proper understanding of the words of the law, calls for action amongst the ambivalent. The heart of Jesus, for people, was revealed in this man’s restoration on this religious day.
I must remember that true religion, true righteousness, is found through being the answer to the questions, the remedy to the request, in His guidance and power. I must be more concerned about the call to bless the broken than to do the things of ministry. In this fast paced church the trap of the enemy would be for us to have our hands to the plow and our head buried in the “things” before us, rather than the needs of those we have been called to serve in love. It’s time I start living according to the love of Jesus rather than the laws of justice.
Lord, I thank you for the love you bestow upon me, and I ask that you would empower me to share that love with those you place before me. Help me to be attentive and compassionate to the needs of others that they might know You and Your Goodness.

Devotions for November 22

Matthew 11,12,13

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