Father in heaven, I am grateful for the gift of another day. Where You lead today, may I gladly follow.
Read Luke 6:1-11
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psa. 51:17 KJV).
Jesus often has a run-in with the authorities. Their rigid interpretation of the Law seems oppressive and nit-picking, a tool for finding fault rather than a way of glorifying God. Jesus does not respond to their rebuke to his disciples defensively. He argues with them on their own terms—showing that even with their own reference points, they have gotten it wrong. His answer produces no change in their attitude, indicating that there is some other motive behind their words; their real aim is not to protect the Sabbath but to attack Jesus. That is why, when Jesus produces the amazing miracle in the synagogue and heals a man with a shriveled hand, they completely miss the significance. Instead of seeing the glory of God in the power and compassion of Jesus, they see their own power becoming diminished and their authority challenged.
If this were an example of simple jealousy we might understand it. Many people are jealous when they are upstaged by another, or when someone gets the acclaim they would like. If we’re spiritually awake, we notice when this happens in our own lives and ask God to help us to be more secure in who we are. But the Pharisees don’t do that. They allow their attitudes to harden. The chief emotion that drives them is not jealousy but hatred. Each time they attempt to undermine Jesus, the hatred grows deeper because he exposes their hypocrisy and misuse of power.
This story challenges us all. Whenever legalism replaces faith, our spiritual lives wither. We become afraid to admit what we get wrong, and don’t ask for God’s grace and forgiveness. Like the Pharisees, we can be blind to miracles, and miss the power and love of God. Yet Jesus can still heal, and not just shriveled hands, but shriveled hearts, also.
Do you feel you are somewhat rigid in outlook and expectation? If so, ask God to soften your heart and open you to daily interventions of his grace.
Lord, I bring my motives and desires to You, and ask that You challenge and change me, and keep me from hardness of heart.
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