August 25

Luke 13:15-17

“When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.” vs. 17

Public opinion was solidly on the side of Jesus in the sabbath healing controversy. Jesus had broken the proscription about healing but he had won the hearts of the crowd. The religious authorities had been humiliated…Jesus had pounced on their hypocrisy, implying that they cared more for their oxen and donkeys than they did a poor crippled woman…and the people loved it. The leader of the synagogue doesn’t get a chance to explain…likely he would have said that of course he cared about the crippled woman, but he had the welfare of the entire community to consider. Didn’t Jesus see that the moment one part of the law was disregarded, all of it would be jeopardized? Ironically, that’s exactly what Jesus saw…the law could be a helpful and necessary tool, but it was no way to govern the coming kingdom. The healing of the woman symbolized what he had in mind. From now on the byword of the community would be restoration and not retribution…words and actions would be guided by a spirit of forgiveness and compassion and not by commandments. Like the crowd, we like the tone of that message…mercy sounds appealing…but can we trust it to provide stability? Somehow it seems safer to hang on to the rules…and so we do!

Thought for the Day: What would happen if mercy were the guiding principle of the justice system?

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