I laughed, and it was at an odd time. It was morning coffee time and I was reading in Matthew’s narrative of Jesus’ life. Some call this a “Quiet Time.” Others, “Devotions.” For me, it’s “Morning Coffee.” To be honest, it’s kind of unstructured.
This probably sounds heretical, but Jesus makes me chuckle from time to time. And when I look at how He dealt with the Sabbath, he gives me mic-drop moments. Here’s one, and it relates to all of us.
The story is in Matthew 12. Jesus is walking through grain fields with his cohort on a Sabbath. As they do, they pick from the grain and eat. But oops, wrong day to be picking grain. None of that on the Sabbath.
The Pharisees, always quick to find error in others, point out the supposed sin of breaking the law of The Big Day.
Jesus calls them out, even pulling a quote from the Old Testament book of Hosea, saying, “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.” Oooh. Jesus isn’t playing today.
But Jesus isn’t done. He goes into the synagogue and—gulp—heals a man with a withered hand. Remember, it’s the Wrong Day to heal someone.
To the Pharisees, this is too much. They throw together a meeting, decide this Sabbath thing is getting out of hand, and determine they will destroy Jesus.
What does Jesus do about this? He slips out of the synagogue and as the people follow Him, he heals everyone needing His touch.
Thank goodness I’m not Jesus. Because if it were me, I might have opened my big mouth. Such as, “You Pharisees don’t like me healing a man in your synagogue on your precious little Sabbath? Watch this, boys, cause I’m about to heal everybody. Every. Last. One.” Then, with a wave of my hand, a final flourish. “Boo Yah! That’s how you do Sabbath!”
It’s the perfect mic drop moment. So yes, this is when I laughed. While Jesus didn’t use my words, I can’t help but believe—somewhere between the lines on the page I was reading—Jesus was sporting a wry smile. If even just a little one.
Knowing the rules but missing the point
The Pharisees knew the rules. The Sabbath was a straightforward commandment. The Pharisees were so wrapped up in the law, they even added to it, “clarifying” what it meant to “Keep the Sabbath holy.”
But somewhere along the way, in an endless pursuit of rules and regulations, they forgot the simple idea that those who hurt need healing—no matter what day it is.
Jesus changed all that.
Which brings me to us, the pregnancy help community. There’s another law, which everyone—even our opposition—understands on some level: Taking the life of an innocent person is wrong.
Again, straightforward. No wiggle room on this one. Even many in the abortion lobby admit the science is clear on when life begins.
We’re right. We win. Game over, right?
As we know, things often don’t work this way.
But I think we—the pregnancy help community—are doing something right. When someone comes in our door thinking abortion is their best choice, we could simply recite to them the law—we’re right, after all. But, like Jesus, we choose compassion.
Remember, Jesus didn’t change the law. He just helped us understand it better.
We’re not about changing the law of life. But we can clarify the law of life through compassion, as Jesus did.
Tweet This: "We’re not about changing the law of life. But we can clarify the law of life through compassion, as Jesus did"
We’ve chosen to listen to the mothers who believe abortion is their only option. We’ve chosen to hear out the fathers, wondering how a new baby will fit into their world. We take the time to address their very real concerns. We offer help where it is needed. And, we determine what “going the extra mile” means to our client--and simply start walking.
By doing these things, we communicate—clearly—how much we value their lives.
So, when the time comes to talk about the life of their baby, we’ve already established a foundation of trust. Because they now see that valuing life is so much broader than they imagined.
An opportunity to bring joy
Seems to me, Jesus taught that the Sabbath is not about a rule but about joy. After all, let’s think of those healed on that Sabbath day. I’m guessing they never thought the same about the Sabbath again. And, they probably looked forward to that one day each week, remembering how one Sabbath Day changed them forever.
And guess what? We’ve been offered the incredible opportunity of teaching this world that life is not just a rule to be kept, but a joy to be cherished.
While we can always do better, I think we’re doing well. I see smiles on the faces of many of those who come to us. They see life differently, as a treasure instead of a curse.
Let’s keep teaching through our compassion. It’s working. And you know, I think Jesus looks down and smiles. And maybe, He turns to our Father and says, “Boo yah! That’s how you do life!”