Day 147: Maintaining the Intent of the Law

Luke 14:1-6 :

It happened, when he went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees on a Sabbath to eat bread, that they were watching him. Behold, a certain man who had dropsy was in front of him. Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

But they were silent.

He took him, and healed him, and let him go. He answered them, “Which of you, if your son or an ox fell into a well, wouldn’t immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?”

They couldn’t answer him regarding these things.

Some people believe that religion means that you make your mind up to follow a set of rules for goodness sake. In other words, religion is simply a set of rules to follow. Jesus was making it clear that the rules of God were made for a reason. In an other place, Jesus says that Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. What I learn from this is that the rules are subject to the intent of their creator. If while interpreting a rule you fail to include the rule’s intent, the rule can easily be manipulated into a form of injustice.

Jesus had the benefit of having made the Sabbath rule Himself. He had the authority to explain its’ purpose in detail. Although, I believe He did expect the leaders of Israel to have studied the rules and the intent of their Maker in the Bible, I think that the deeper problem was that they had decided to not accept Jesus as their Messiah and because of this, they closed their mind to learning from the Rule Maker and accept His intentions for them. Instead they loved the fact that they could follow rules for their own sake and be honored by people for it. Jesus took their honor away because they were using the rules inappropriately.

This problem is seen in many places in our world today. Rules are usually made to make it obvious when someone has done wrong to someone else. They are intended to make it hard for bad people and easy for good people. When lawmakers make laws, they have intentions behind those laws that form a basis for their enforcement. Too often it is only the law that is remembered and the intent is “forgotten.” In cases like these, people who murder are set free or praised, people who try to help children are put in jail, people who try to clean oil spills to protect life are stopped, people who kill pre-born children are honored, and people who heal on the Sabbath are killed.

Jesus was about to solve this problem by removing our obligation to the Law and replacing it with an obligation to walk by the Spirit of God. By God’s Spirit we are able to follow the intentions of the Spirit who made the rules. It’s not that we don’t follow rules, its that we do it with knowledge and the power that comes from God.