Today’s readings are Daniel 7:1-14 and Mark 2:18-3:6
Someday’s you just can’t win.
This is especially true in Mark’s account of the beginning of Jesus ministry. The attitude that the Pharisees had tells the story well. “Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.”(6). Having just remembered the event of Easter last weekend, this account of Jesus activity is very telling as it marks the beginning of the end of his life as far as the religious leaders were concerned.
Yet as we know the full story, it also marks the end of a new beginning.
No doubt it has been said before, but it does not harm us by saying it once again, that Christianity and religion don’t mix. In the few verses in Mark’s gospel it really does not matter whether questions were being asked about fasting, the Sabbath or healing. One way or another an attempt was going to be made to set a trap for Jesus.
On the matters of the Sabbath and healing, we see the two hot topics of the day. The Pharisees acting as the self-righteous religious police spotted the disciples plucking grain as they were walking through a field. But in the mind of the Pharisees this meant that they were harvesting and therefore violating the Sabbath.
The second instance is even harder to grapple with. Yet it does reveal how easily well-intentioned rules can get in the way of helping people. Of course we know that “Some of them were looking for reasons to accuses Jesus so they watched him closely.”(v2) A side note to be aware of is that when someone has made up their mind about you, they will and do watch you closely and judge your every action. Worse than that as we see in the case with Jesus they build a case against you that they will seek to use at a later stage. Knowing all of this we could wonder what we would do in this situation that Jesus had before him. To heal or not to heal that is the question!
Yes, the compassion of our Lord wins out. In fact the healing incident speaks more about Jesus opponents than it does about the Sabbath. Which is true in all situations like this. Of course those who were seeking to bring Jesus down were given an opportunity to speak but they “remained silent.”
In the case of healing, Jesus never said that the Sabbath day should be treated as a day where you ignored the needs of those around you.
The question today that needs to be answered is not whether working or helping on a certain day is allowed or not, but whether an activity is going to help someone regardless of the day?
In this life we all have our own standards and our own rules. Maybe as we look around our world today, there may be things that we have decided that we won’t do for a whole range of reasons. Maybe today is the day to break your own rules and do good for someone and not worry so much about what others think.