Sunday, July 26, 2015

Luke 13:15-16 (NRSV): The Humility and Compassion of Jesus

Luke 13:15-16 (NRSV): The Humility and Compassion of Jesus

15But the Lord answered him and said, ‘You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the Sabbath day?’

Legalism draws us into a vortex of superstition and anti-grace; it is what dominated the worldview of first-century Judaism. As twenty-first century Christians, we must avoid a legalistic view of serving God and neighbor.  When it comes to mercy and love, the rules of a faith tradition stand aside.  God matters above all things, and our neighbor matters, too.  We must first express love, forgiveness, and compassion toward each other as Jesus does here. The religious establishment’s legalistic approach to religion gets in the way of love. We are not called to the Kingdom of God through legalistic rule adherence.  Rather, we are called to Christ through humility, love, self giving, and mercy, all attributes the self-righteous Pharisees and scribes lack but Jesus exemplifies. Can we love with the unlimited love of Christ, or do we find ourselves stuck in a world of doctrinal rules and limitations?