Mark 3:1-6 Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
John 8: 1-11 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
I drifted off to sleep last night thinking about these two significant accounts of Jesus choosing compassion and kindness in the face of adversity and accusations.
First, I thought about those times (7 times total) when Jesus healed the sick on the Sabbath. In the account above, Jesus asks those accusing him of breaking the law a simple question:
“Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.”
Second, I thought about the lady caught in adultery. The law said that stoning her fit the crime but Jesus responded, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
What prompted me to think about these moments in Scripture was the current topic of illegal immigration.
I read about the living conditions at some of the detainment camps.
I read about those who broke the law by entering the country illegally being rounded up and separated from their families (sometimes years and years after the offense took place).
I hear these stories and my heart breaks.
Yes, I get it. People have every right to shout…”but the law says…
But then I remember these moments in Scripture when Jesus demonstrates to us that life is precious and life matters regardless of what the law might say.
Life (all life) is worth caring for and protecting (regardless of citizenship).
Life (all life) is worth defending (regardless of citizenship).
“Which is lawful….to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?”
In Biblical days, Jesus was the defender of the weak and the voiceless.
He is still the defender of the weak and the voiceless.