Day 8: Matthew 12:9-13
Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue,
And a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?
How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just a sound as the other.
It is interesting to me that they teachers asked if healing was lawful on the Sabbath. I know it was supposed to be a trap, but it seems to be indicative of a deeper issue. As people, we can get so focused on what is lawful that we miss what is good.
Why is it that we focus so much on being correct that we don’t always do what is right? I see American Christians more likely to “protect the sanctity of marriage” than the importance of a human life as they drive right past a starving homeless man on their way to a protest. Like Christ said, “How much more valuable is a man…”
Sometimes I wonder if we haven’t missed the big picture. The prophets point to this same problem. People get so focused on the ritual of religion that they miss the beauty and creativity of our God. Every person is like a painter’s masterpiece; yet we give more wonder to the lifeless canvases than they living, breathing human being in the room next door.
Screw if healing on the Sabbath is lawful! When we are caring for our neighbor, God will never be upset. How much more valuable is a man! How much more valuable is a man than a sheep, or a painting, or some religious ideal. These ideals are only part of how God wants us to live our lives. There is so much more to it, yet we miss it because we are too worried about if it is ok to heal on the Sabbath.