We’ve been examining the idea that having the right vision for our lives and leadership empowers us to “break the rules” in order to put people first. Today, I want to look at how Jesus modeled this behavior for us, and what it teaches us about living as His disciples in the modern world. Much to the chagrin of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, our Savior constantly set aside the mandates of religion to give priority to loving people. One of the most famous examples of this is a story in which He healed a woman on the Sabbath. It bears explaining that in ancient Judaism, there was the Torah, which was the basis of the law and included the first five books of the Old Testament, and the Tanakh, which included the Torah and all the other books. Together, these provided a fairly comprehensive guide for righteous living for the practicing Jew; however, there was also something called the oral tradition, which took into consideration scenarios that were not covered by the law itself. In this case, the Torah said that it was unlawful to work on the Sabbath, but oral tradition took it a step further and said that it was unlawful even to heal or help someone on that day. Because it was a form of labor, the Pharisees held that Jesus was engaging in an illegal act by showing compassion to a woman who had been crippled for eighteen years. Though He was overwhelmed with care and pity for her, they were devoid of concern and seemed more interested in causing trouble for Him. To them, rules were closer to God’s heart than mercy, and this caused them to miss the wonder of seeing His Kingdom unfold in their midst.
My friend, while you may think that your highest call as the Lord’s child is to perfectly obey His precepts, being available to people is actually more important. When you walk in His easy rhythms of grace and live at an unhurried pace, the Holy Spirit will use you to minister compassion in ways that others might miss. As you put aside the drive to meet everyone else’s standards, He will set you free to purely, simply, and passionately pursue divine love. By making it your mission to care for precious souls rather than adamantly follow the rules, you will experience the joy of walking in your Savior’s footsteps and know the wonder of seeing wounded and weary hearts revived by His Spirit!