The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In John 9:13-17 the controversy over Jesus’ healing of the blind man continued. Because he healed him on the Sabbath the Pharisees were very critical. Some would say that he could not be from God since he was working on the Sabbath. Yet the man who was healed didn’t seem to have an objection to the timing. He was able to see. This was a good thing. The Sabbath is a time for good. Maybe this healer was “the prophet”?
Many in our society take a highly pragmatic view of life and ministry. If it is working, it must be good. There is an element of truth here, but it is a small element. Good works are good. There’s no denying that. At the same time it is important that we consider our motives and what message we send through our actions. The relief program which seems to help some people may harm others and, worse, it may persuade many that the work of the Church lies primarily in social programs and relief. The coalition between religious organizations and governmental programs may result in the Church having to modify its historic message of hope and reconciliation through Christ alone. We can’t afford to compromise in these ways.
What was the purpose of the Sabbath? It was to give rest. What was the result of Jesus’ work of healing the man? It gave him rest from his trouble. Jesus’ work on the Sabbath was entirely appropriate. Sadly, the Jewish leaders, those whose calling was to bring God’s grace and rest to the people, chose to use the occasion to attack Jesus. The man who had been healed was caught in the middle.
Let us hope and pray that we are neither caught in the middle of such a battle, nor that we should put anyone in such a situation.
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