Scripture: John 5:1-18
Key verse: (17) But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, and I also am working.”
Reflection: Generally I am a rule-follower. I prefer knowing what to expect. I like order and organization. So I notice when someone is breaking the rules and, if I don’t take time to think, I’m quick to judge them negatively for it. I’m like “the Jews” in this story from the gospel of John. According to the gospel writer, the Jews had focused on the rules of keeping the Sabbath. When Jesus healed a sick man on the Sabbath, the rule-followers were quick to judge. They judged the healthy man who was walking away carrying his mat (a Sabbath no-no) and they judged Jesus for healing him on the Sabbath.
Jesus answered them in our key verse above, reminding them that God doesn’t stop caring for creation and loving humanity just because it’s the Sabbath. And Jesus wouldn’t stop either! God and Jesus keep on working at loving people all of the time. The Sabbath rules were never intended to keep people from loving one another. Many of the Sabbath rules had become the focus or the end in themselves for the rule-followers, rather than the means to deepen worship and faithfulness.
When I look first at the rules and not at the people involved, I need to be reminded that God keeps on loving us all the time. When I am quick to judge someone, I need to slow down and ask myself what it would mean to love them instead. Some of the “rules” I have learned are more about my culture, my upbringing, my economic status and not about God’s will. God loves. God keeps on loving and never stops “working” to love us. We are called to do the same.
Prayer: Dear Lord, when I am more focused on the rules and not on caring for those around me, correct me. Show me how to love those around me, with disregard for what other people will think of me. Give me grace not to judge others harshly. Through Christ I pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].