The Lord of the Sabbath

“Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:5-8, ESV).

The question of rules and laws is difficult. Without laws societies break down and survival often becomes a matter of strength and ruthlessness. But the rule of law may result in a rigid system which is void of mercy and compassion. Legalism values rules above human needs. Situation ethics and similar moral systems often lead to the suspension of law based only on subjective feelings or opinions. What is sufficient reason to “break” a rule is different for each one who faces difficulties. Is there not a reliable standard which may be enforced in all circumstances? Continue reading “The Lord of the Sabbath”

Follow the example of love

Jesus never forced anyone to accept him or his teaching. In Matthew chapter 8, when Jesus healed two possessed men in the Gadarenes and people asked him to leave, he left.

After crossing the Sea of Galilee and arriving in Capernaum, Jesus saw a paralyzed man. The paralysis was so severe  the man was carried. The scripture tells us Jesus saw their faith, and the Master said the man’s sins were forgiven (Matthew 9:2). The scribes watching this accused Jesus of blasphemy.

There is a contrast here that we should understand. Continue reading “Follow the example of love”

The Caring Son of God

One of the Stoics’ original ideas of God was a being of complete apathy.

To them, God cared about no one and nothing. William Barclay described Stoic philosophy in the First Century by writing, “No one can be greater than God; therefore no one can influence God; therefore, in the nature of things, God must be incapable of feeling.”[1]

Jesus was compassionate. He wept at the grave of his friend Lazarus (John 11:35). He felt compassion for the hungry multitude of people with him (Matthew 9:36). He showed great feeling for a leper — a person everyone avoided, and many hated — yet a person Jesus loved and healed (Mark 1:40-42). Continue reading “The Caring Son of God”

Who cares?

“The righteous perishes, and no one takes it to heart” (Isaiah 57:1 NKJV).

It was just another story in the local newspaper. A schoolgirl accused her principal of sexual abuse. Shortly afterward she was set on fire and after struggling for life for a few days lost that battle too. There was a brief outrage in the community which soon settled down so that the incident became just one more of many. The principal of course denied any involvement with the girl or her death. Continue reading “Who cares?”

Compassion, action, and evangelism

By Johnny O. Trail — Compassion is defined as “sympathy for the suffering of others, often including a desire to help.” It might also be defined as “to have the bowels yearn” for the well-being of another. It means for one to have a deep, inward yearning for the good and welfare of another person—even in cases where they are not deserved of our sympathy. The word for compassion is used several times in the Old and New Testaments.

In the New Testament, the word compassion is combined with an action in connection with the expression of sympathy. Simply stated, we need to act compassionately toward those who deal with various physical, mental, and spiritual afflictions. If we wish to be like the Master, we should have the same type of compassion within ourselves. Continue reading “Compassion, action, and evangelism”

Taking care of what is needed

“As Jesus came ashore he saw the large crowd and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he taught them many things.” (Mark 6:34 NET).

Jesus cared about people. When he saw this crowd – a large crowd at that – he felt for them. They needed a shepherd, someone to guide them. So he did, by teaching them many things.

And that caused the problem. It became too late – definitely too late for anyone to get anything to eat. There were no McDonalds they could go to (or even fish and chips) – they were in the middle of nowhere. Jesus’ disciples thought they should get rid of the people: “This is an isolated place and it is already very late. Send them away so that they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy something for themselves to eat” (Mark 6:35-36). In other words, “it’s not our problem.” Continue reading “Taking care of what is needed”

The carpenter on the other side of the table

“Which of these three…was neighbor?” (Luke 10:36, NASB).

Did you hear about Lizzie Velaquez from Austin, Texas, a.k.a., “The World’s Ugliest Woman?” who was searching YouTube and stumbled upon a video (which had been viewed over 4 million times) urging her to kill herself because she was so ugly?

She decided to leave her self-pity behind, and parlayed her new-found fame to become an anti-bullying advocate all over the nation! What an admirable way to turn the tables on her bullies! Continue reading “The carpenter on the other side of the table”

Think of the widow

The village of Nain was about six miles southeast of Nazareth. Its name meant “pleasant,” probably for the view afforded from its 1,690 ft. height. From the view, it is said one could see snow-capped Mt. Hermon.[1]

As the Lord Jesus was traveling with a large crowd toward the city, he came upon the funeral procession of a young man. His mother, a widow, was following the bier, weeping.

What comes next is one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible. Continue reading “Think of the widow”

She has done what she could

What is it about gardening that causes the fun to often descend into a guilt trip? The dreams that seemed so tangible in February and March taunt us as unfinished projects in June and July.

Maybe the same is true with any other activity, but dust bunnies don’t grow and multiply as readily as ragweeds do in the garden. Nor, for that matter, like the real bunnies that nibble the blueberries and tomatoes. Continue reading “She has done what she could”