Misdirected Zeal

The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed,  “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”  John  5:9b, 10.

 Technically, these guys were correct, the law forbade work of any kind.  Yet when they learned the man had been healed of a disease after 38 years, wouldn’t you think they would have cut him some slack?  They didn’t; in fact they became indignant that the invalid was healed on the Sabbath and began to persecute Jesus.  Why is it that we cling so tightly to our traditions even when given clear evidence to the contrary, then we will punish those who don’t hold to our mistaken ideals?  I’ve known many in the church who have done this to the hurt and discouragement of others.

Jesus is the interpretation of the commandments.  Let me say it another way:  Jesus’ example in the gospels show us how to keep the law.  He makes the law clear, takes away the misinterpretations and holds up a light for how to understand the Word of Truth.

Yet here is another truth we must resign ourselves to if we are to follow the Master:  Those more zealous for tradition than Jesus will ostracize, criticize and persecute those who conform to the mind of Christ.  There’s absolutely no help for it because those bound to the values of the world mixed with religious information never reconcile with God completely nor with those who do.  A person lacking peace in their own soul resents anyone else who displays it.  I believe from watching the trends in the church over the years every person who runs around correcting others usually isn’t at peace in themselves.

Those who love God live out His mind and rarely feel the need to correct anyone else unless it’s something the Spirit puts on their hearts—even then it’s done with gentleness and care.  There is a place for correcting in righteousness, and in extreme cases a need for disfellowship, but we must be sure of our decisions before we take such steps.  We must also make sure we have tried everything possible to reconcile the situation because the people of God will be peacemakers.

Jesus demonstrated His authority over nature by nurturing a man to health (albeit instantaneously).  His authority extended to the law as well by dent of His power to change the natural order of things caused by sin’s destructive presence.  The Jews who opposed Him ignored His power in order to focus on nitpicking the law.

We need to take this story to heart and use at a warning to be beware of missing the big picture for the sake of picking at the threads.


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One Response to “Misdirected Zeal”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    We need to remember that love trumps it all. It’s hard for people who like order. People like me who want 1+1 to always =2 have to learn that the greater good must prevail no matter how we’ve always done it in the past.

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