How many times have you seen or heard of people who overlook and pass by someone who is suffering? Think about the Good Samaritan and the first two, who were religious people, and passed the injured man on the other side of the road. Then there are times when people are hurt, injured, robbed or whatever and people just turn a blind eye. Sure there is a need for wisdom so you are not caught up in things or hurt yourself, but you could call the cops! Here is an example of religious leaders using the law to back up their decision to do nothing.
Having the Opportunity
You may not always have the opportunity to do good and sometimes you may not have the power, but then sometimes you do. When you do, use the opportunity for good so that the other person is upbuilt.
In this scenario we see that there was a woman who was bent over and crippled, having had a spirit of infirmity that had bound her for eighteen years. The Lord had the power and the opportunity and so he healed her and she stood up straight. But this all took place on the Sabbath and under the Law of Moses people were not permitted to work on the Sabbath.
Looking Good versus Doing Good
The ruler of the synagogue took exception to Jesus healing the woman and was indignant when Jesus did this healing. Did the ruler tackle Jesus over the matter? No, instead he had a go at the people. He said to them, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” (Verse 14)
Now this sounds good because the ruler was instructing the people to “keep the Sabbath.” But Jesus thought otherwise. He said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead it away to water it?” (Verse 15) So Jesus proved to the man that he was breaking this rule of the Sabbath for the sake of watering his animals so that they would not suffer.
Jesus then followed on saying, “And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?” (Verse 16) Elsewhere Jesus shows that the Sabbath was made for man and not the other way around.
So the ruler had the appearance of doing the right thing, but he judged the matter completely the wrong way. As Jesus showed it was right for the woman to be released from this bondage as and when the opportunity arose. The law was being wrongly used to keep the woman in bondage for another day, but Jesus said it was right that she be released as soon as possible.
How this affects us
Don’t let the supposition of what is right get in the way of what is truly right. All we end up doing is justifying ourself. And when you get caught out in this mind set you end up like the synagogue ruler. After Jesus had shown him what was truly right we see, “As he said this, all his adversaries were put to shame; and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.” (Verse 17)
Jesus taught us elsewhere, “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?” (Luke 12:57) Too often we do not judge what is right but try to justify our own position. But when the truth is made known and what is truly right is revealed, then we can suffer shame.
It is a good lesson and reminder for us all to not allow anything to stand in the way of doing what is right, especially those things that may have the appearance of truth but in fact are just legalism and self-justification. Seek the Lord’s way instead and search out the truth of all matters before acting. When you have the opportunity and the means, do good rather than finding a reason to self-justify not doing good. You won’t fool anyone, especially the Lord.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng www.sxc.hu/ taken by Victoria Herrera)