The Way DAY 23 - Bend Toward Mercy

DAY 23 - Bend Toward Mercy

Luke 6:6-11

Why does Jesus respond to the Pharisees as he does in Luke 6? We’re asking about motive, so we have to find out more about how Jesus sees the world. The last part of these two stories answers this question. 

The Pharisees wanted to know if Jesus would heal on the Sabbath. Many Jewish teachers were fine with saving life on the Sabbath. A man with a disability was present for worship in the synagogue. This man suffered but he wasn’t going to die. Why not wait and heal him after the Sabbath? After all, this isn’t a life or death issue.

That’s not good enough for Jesus. He heals the man anyway. Why? Jesus always angles towards mercy. We’ll see this even more next week and again throughout the Gospel. Mercy makes Jesus flexible where others are rigid. That doesn’t mean “anything goes” on the Way of Jesus, but it does encourage us to have convicted flexibility. That means we have convictions but we’re flexible in how we relate to each other - especially when we don’t agree. We flex towards mercy because we’re rooted in Jesus.

You’ve probably heard people talk about “fundamentalism.” Most people use that word to talk about conservative people, especially religious conservatives: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. Fundamentalism is less about WHAT people believe than HOW they use it on other people. Fundamentalism is more an attitude than a checklist. It’s an intense drive to police people and force my way on them. You can find this rigid way of treating people differently than you in virtually every group. Conservatives and liberals are both fine canceling people as long as it’s the other team.

That’s not the Way of Jesus. We flex towards mercy because we’re rooted in Jesus. Do I use my convictions to bludgeon people or bless people? These Pharisees beat people up, not set people free.

How do we balance boundaries (personal, moral, etc.) with flexibility?

Thank you, Lord, for your mercy. Show me your mercy again and help me to bend toward mercy. Amen.

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