Summary: How is your life wired? Jesus paints a picture of God\’s character to show us how differently we are wired and how much we are in need of a Savior.
A few years ago I thought I was pretty smart. We were putting in a hot tub and some people said - you should have it installed by a professional. "I don’t need no professional!" I responded. Well, we got the thing in okay- after hefting it sideways and rolling it on some very flimsy hand trucks or something. Once the thing was in then it was time to wire in the 220 volts. I got all my parts and ran my wire and stared at the breaker switch trying to figure out which wire to hook where. I finally picked a way, wired it up and then called for an inspection.
It’s a good thing I did. I came back the next day to see a big sign put up by my breaker - DO NOT USE - DANGER! Apparently I had wired the thing backwards - the opposite of what it was supposed to be. Had I turned the juice on I’m told it would have exploded. Here I thought I was doing the right thing and it turned out to be polar opposite of right and could have gotten me killed.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve made a choice they thought was right, a choice that they asumed would give them insight and knowledge. Instead it blinded them and took away their ability to know the truth. We have suffered from this ever since. With each succeeding generation mankind has wandered farther from God’s character and mirrored more the character of the one who stole away our allegiance - Lucifer. Jesus said that when Satan speaks he lies - and that is his native language. So Satan will speak the opposite of God who is truth by His very nature. (John 8:44)
Why do I bring this up? Because in chapter 6 of Luke’s gospel, Jesus begins to call out this difference - this 180 degree out of phase alignment with our character and God’s character. It’s preparation for us to know our need for a Savior - and it’s also a wonderful reminder that even if we are a Christian, we are still vulnerable to the pull of the world to go back out of phase. Today we’ll look at the 1st part of the chapter - Jesus’ actions, demonstrating God’s character. Then next time we’ll listen to Jesus’ words telling us about God’s character. Paul the Apostle describes the interior dichotomy:
Romans 7:21-25 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! ESV
You see - we are need of a rescuer. If we aren’t yet related to Jesus then we need to respond to His call to be disciples. Even after we know Jesus we need Him because the Apostle Paul also tells us that the flesh, our old nature, is at war with the Spirit of God.
Jesus calls attention to the difference in human vs God’s character first by showing that love for a person takes precedence over ceremonial obedience. Then He charts character - and marks the difference between someone who is like God and someone who isn’t. The common denominator in all of this is that God lives to love others, we live to love ourselves.
Verses 1 - 5
God meant the Sabbath to be a blessing - but man had turned it into a burden. And how the Pharisees react to Jesus’ behavior on the Sabbath points out the attitude of man - always eager to criticize, never eager to act selflessly - especially if we can create a rule to justify our behavior - then we can deflect responsibility for our selfishness. "I can’t help you because I never give to strangers on the side of the road."
Here we have two episodes where the Sabbath is the rule. The first involved working - or more specifically harvesting. God told the Jews to rest on the Sabbath, to celebrate God’s finishing of the first creation. It was important - and later some Rabbis taught that Messiah would not come until the Jews perfectly kept the Sabbath.
But as with everything, we got it backwards. In Mark’s account (ch 2) Jesus makes this statement: "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." So Jesus illustrates this by His behavior - meeting human need. He also claims authority over the Sabbath - this was tantamount to saying that He was Jehovah God - which, of course, He is. This was not lost on the Pharisees.