DAILY DEVOTIONAL:

 
 
 

Are You A Rule Follower Or A Jesus Follower?

Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. (Mark 3:1-5)

From the time we were little kids, we were given rules to follow. Look both ways before we cross the street. Raise your hand in class if you want to ask a question. Don’t throw food at your siblings at the dinner table. These rules were put into place to teach us to behave respectfully and to keep us safe, as are most rules we’ve learned throughout our lives.

But as we take a look at today’s Scripture passage, we learn that not all rules are good rules. Not all rules are valid rules. And not all rules correspond with what we believe according to God’s Word. Jesus shows us this in action when He chose to break one of the Pharisees’ rules by healing a man with a shriveled hand on the Sabbath.

When the man comes in to the synagogue and asks to be healed, Jesus knows the Pharisees are watching His every move. So, He gets right to the point. “Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, ‘Stand up in front of everyone.’ Then Jesus asked them, ‘Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they remained silent” (Mark 3:3-4).

Jesus knows exactly what He is doing. He’s asking the umpires for a ruling, and He’s wanting to know what the rules are before He plays the game. He did this because He was keenly aware that these umpires had a bunch of made-up rules. The gospels record that Jesus actually healed on the Sabbath seven different times, but evidently that was breaking the Pharisees’ rules.

However, Jesus didn’t care. At the end of the day, He was way more interested with doing good than with following rules. And that’s the same mentality we should have as well, rather than the mentality that the Pharisees had. My prayer for you and for me is that we never get so bogged down with following the rules that we fail to love people. May the rules we’ve been given never interfere with us becoming more like Jesus and serving the people He’s placed in front of us.

Dear Lord, while I know that a lot of times rules are a good thing, I never want to become too concerned with being a rule follower that it affects my ability to be a Jesus-follower. So please help me to always keep my focus on you and to worry about obeying your Holy Spirit more than anything else. In Jesus’ name, amen.