Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Luke 6:7-10 -- On Mind-Reading and Sabbath Observance

"And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.
But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth.
Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?
And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other."
Luke 6:7-10

I like the fact that "he knew their thoughts."  I wonder if that is another class we can take in the afterlife. :)  Anyway, this is a cool miracle that Christ did.  It's also an interesting lesson in context because it teaches us a little more about the sabbath day.  In Mark 2:27 Jesus tells us that "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath."  It seems that the church at the time had been emphasizing the sabbath as a very, very strict code that restricted action on the sabbath, with no flexibility at all.  Christ reminds us that the sabbath day is important.  It is given to us to rest, to focus on God, to have a time where we aren't burdened with other things, but that it is always okay to do good on the sabbath.  In Luke 14:5 in another healing-on-the-sabbath situation, Christ asks "Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?," making it clear again that it is okay to do good and help on the sabbath.
Of course, in backing away from severely restricted sabbath activities, and in the fulfillment of the Law of Moses, we sometimes go way too far in the other direction, justifying almost anything we want as an "ox in the mire" situation.  In D&C 59:13 we're told "on this day thou shalt do none other thing," and in Isaiah 58:13-14 God tells us "If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: / Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord."  There is a balance between the flexibility to do good, and doing whatever we want, and I think that we find it here.  We should be focused on what God wants on the sabbath, and not on what we want at all.  That is the balance that Christ had, and the balance that we should strive for.  More so on the sabbath, but really every day.  Today, let's focus on what God wants rather than on what we want.  I think that will help everything go better, whether it is the sabbath or not. :)

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