Tuesday, April 25

The Father’s heart

Scripture: Luke 14

Luke 14:5–6 Then he said to them, “Which of you, if you have a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” 6 But they could not reply to this.

Observation

Jesus was invited to dinner on a Sabbath by a leader of the Pharisees who evidently hoped to trap him. A man with edema (swelling) was there. Jesus asked, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 

Work was forbidden on the Sabbath, and healing was considered a form of work. However, the general rule governing activity on the Sabbath was necessity: if it could be safely postponed, then wait, don’t do it; if it could not be delayed, do it. The man’s edema was not life threatening, so his healing could wait until tomorrow. 

Jesus healed the man and asked if a child or animal fell in a well on the Sabbath, would they pull it out? Of course!

Jesus went beyond what was permitted on the Sabbath to what was intended.  (Thanks to Dr. Jim Edwards for that insight.) Jesus said that man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for man. It was God’s gift for man’s benefit. Therefore, to do something beneficial was not only permitted but intended. 

Jesus saw beyond the legalistic application of Sabbath to its intended purpose for our benefit. Jesus understood the heart of the Father. 

Application

God is committed to our welfare, to what is good for us. Love is doing what is best for others no matter what it costs you. God is relentlessly committed to doing what is best for us. When He gives a law, it is not to reduce our lives but to enlarge them. We need to understand God’s instructions in that light—not as a legalistic restriction, but as a life-giving benefit.

Here is a way to read God’s word. How does this command enhance my life and make it better (rather than restrict my life and make it less)? What is the Father’s heart behind it? (Hebrews 12:10)

Prayer: Lord I love You and I’m so grateful that You showed us the heart of the Father—a heart that is for us not against us. Help me to read Your word from that perspective and see Your commands as life-giving, not life-limiting.

More: Judges 15-16, Psalm 49, 1 Corinthians 12