Monday, February 19
Right Judgment – Festival of Booths
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from Clergy Stuff.
Jesus changed his mind and decided that his brothers could go fly a kite—he was going to the festival of the booths, albeit in secret. And he decides later on that his presence can be known, despite the fact that he might lose his life. Jesus proceeded to the temple and began teaching.
The teaching he imparts confronts sabbath law, once again. People are angry that he healed a person on the sabbath. He turned the argument one its head and stated that if one could circumcise on the sabbath, why not heal?
It leads me to think how certain people seem drawn toward legalism. In a world where some want rules to be cut-and-dry for the sake of simplicity, I must admit that I shake my head sometimes. After all, life isn't always cut-and-dry. Neither is it black and white . . . at least all the time. Life is many shades of gray. But Jesus does clarify one of God's traits, which is consistently black and white: compassion. God's heart shines compassion, always.
It might be worth asking ourselves whether or not our hearts encompass such compassion as well. Do I see that laws and rules have their limits? That human beings are finite creatures who need grace?
Narrative Lectionary Text: John 7:10-24
But after his brothers had gone to the festival, then he also went, not publicly but as it were in secret. The Jews were looking for him at the festival and saying, ‘Where is he?’ And there was considerable complaining about him among the crowds. While some were saying, ‘He is a good man’, others were saying, ‘No, he is deceiving the crowd.’ Yet no one would speak openly about him for fear of the Jews.
About the middle of the festival Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. The Jews were astonished at it, saying, ‘How does this man have such learning, when he has never been taught?’ Then Jesus answered them, ‘My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him.
‘Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you looking for an opportunity to kill me?’ The crowd answered, ‘You have a demon! Who is trying to kill you?’ Jesus answered them, ‘I performed one work, and all of you are astonished. Moses gave you circumcision (it is, of course, not from Moses, but from the patriarchs), and you circumcise a man on the sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath in order that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I healed a man’s whole body on the sabbath? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgement.’