#DailyDevotion What Is The Right Thing To Do?
Luke 14: Once on a Sabbath Jesus went to the home of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal, and they were watching Him carefully. 2In front of Him was a man who had dropsy. 3This led Jesus to ask the experts in the Law and the Pharisees, “Is it right to heal on a day of rest or not?” 4But they didn’t say anything. So Jesus took hold of the man, made him well, and sent him away.
You ever had all eyes on you to see whether or not you would flop or not? That’s what was going on in this passage from Luke. Jesus was at a Sabbath dinner party when out of the blue there’s a man with dropsy in front of him. Now we can tell from the rest of chapter four that this guy wasn’t probably there on a regular occasion. He was planted there by the Pharisees to see what Jesus would do. They were testing Jesus.
Now Jesus would have none of it. He’s knows the trap they laid for him but he’s going to use it to show how hypocritical they are. So Jesus asks, “Is it right to heal on a day of rest or not?” They don’t answer anything, which is quite unusual because they are always arguing about something. They don’t want to answer because it would reveal what is in their hearts. Just in the previous chapter Jesus had shown how they would untie an ox or donkey and lead it to water on the Sabbath but they wouldn’t show the same compassion on their fellow Jews.
The Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath Jesus would teach. God has given us numerous laws for our benefit. They are like a fence of a playground that keeps everyone safe from getting hurt from the dangers outside the playground. Now some of God’s commandments are also rules for playing in the playground. It’s hard to tell sometimes which are which. But if someone fell outside of the playground into danger we should do what we can to get them back in the playground.
For example, the old philosophical test, if a Jew were hiding in your home during Nazi Germany and the police asked if there were any Jews inside, what would you say? You know God hates liars. Should you lie? Well, yes you should. You are being merciful and kind and preserving a life. That person was outside the playground. But normally you shouldn’t lie. We should aim to be merciful, kind and preserve life in all we do. If we see someone trying to kill an innocent person, should be kill the would be murderer before he can do so if that is our only option in stopping him? Well, of course. We could go on and one. God wants us to do what preserves the life of our fellow human beings.
So what did Jesus do? He healed the man of his dropsy, just as he healed the woman who was disabled woman in the previous chapter. We should not be so scrupulous in keeping God’s law that we do not temper that law with mercy and cause more harm than good. We often may say it is better to err on the side of grace or perhaps we should say we should err on the side of being merciful as our Father in heaven is merciful.
Ultimately, God the Father has shown his great mercy to us by not treating us as our sins deserve. Instead, he has treated his son Jesus Christ as we deserve, putting him to death on the cross that we might be free from the bondage of sin and death. Let his mind be in you that your Father in heaven has.
Merciful God and Father, you have mercy is better than sacrifice. Grant us your wisdom to know when we should be merciful and how to be merciful and still do your will. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.