By Richard Muñoz
As a lawyer, I like rules. Rules keep things neat and tidy. I’m the kind of guy that reads the rules on the back of coupons or raffle tickets. Rules are a warm blanket of comfort for those of us who are paid to worry. But when I look at the ministry of Jesus, I am reminded that a legalistic faith can smother true worship and practice.
During Jesus’ time, many activities on the Sabbath were prohibited by the prevailing interpretation of the Scriptures. The Pharisees (the religious leaders of the day) clashed with Jesus many times because Jesus performed acts on the Sabbath that they considered unlawful and sinful. In short, the religious leaders weren’t concerned with the fruits of Jesus’ ministry; rather, they were angry that Jesus did not precisely follow their interpretation of the Scripture.
Upon review, you will find that Jesus performed seven Sabbath day miracles:
1. Healing of the lame man (John 5:1-18)
2. Driving out the spirit of evil from a man at Capernaum (Mark 1:21-28)
3. Healing Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-31)
4. Healing the man with the deformed hand (Mark 3:1-6)
5. Healing the blind man (John 9:1-16)
6. Healing the infirmed woman (Luke 13:10-17)
7. Healing the man with dropsy (Luke 14:1-6)
After each of these miracles, the religious leaders confronted Jesus and accused him of being a law-breaker and sinner. Think about that for a moment. The top religious leaders of the day publicly accused Jesus of ignoring Scripture and sinning because he healed on the Sabbath.
They were so caught up in their practice of legalistic faith that they failed to experience the blessings of healing, redemption and joy. Jesus rightly rebuked the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and reminded them that the rules were made to serve man, not the other way around (Mark 2:27).
As I sit at my desk and review contracts, policies and examine the myriad legal issues that arise when Buckner engages vulnerable children and families around the world, I need to remember that true faith and practice is not always confined to nice and tidy rules.
Richard Muñoz is the assistant general counsel for Buckner International.
Prayer of the Week:
-God, forgive us for our hardness of heart when we prioritize rules over a love for people. Take away our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh, filled with your love, compassion and grace.