Business as usual?
March 7, 2013
For the Pharisees, it was business as usual. This upstart in their midst, of course he wasn’t the Christ. They would have known if the Christ had actually come. Therefore, there was no reason to listen, or learn, or grow. A true Christ would have followed their rules, after all! A true Christ would have been one of them.
They asked him, “How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus said, “the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.” (see John 10:24, 25) It was the same answer he’d given to John the Baptist, who’d been one of his biggest supporters. But locked in prison, fearing for his life, he’d become discouraged. Jesus reassured John’s disciples this way: “Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” (Luke 7:22, 23)
For the Pharisees, being offended was business as usual. They knew the letter of the law inside and out. And Jesus wasn’t following it! Healing on the Sabbath? Check! Hanging out with publicans and sinners? Check! Touching lepers, bleeding women, and dead bodies? Check! Making himself equal with God? Gasp! Check!
Jesus, on the other hand, knew the spirit of the law inside and out. He knew that restoring the health and salvation of his fellowman was the only real evidence that he was following his job description: Immanuel, or God with us! He knew that sin, disease, and death were offensive, but that curing them was divinely natural.
The Pharisees had surely learned this passage from Psalms: “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (119:165) But they apparently put their own spin on it. We must learn from their mistakes. Perhaps the truth is, that if we’re offended it’s because we’re not loving God’s law enough.
Let us not be about business as usual. Let us instead – whenever offense (of any kind) rears it’s ugly head – love more. This is simply in keeping with Jesus’ two great commandments: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (see Matt. 22:37-39) Is there any offense that can withstand that kind of love?
Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science Practitioner in Salem, OR, USA. For more information about her, or additional articles, click here.