Wednesday, March 26, 2014

guilty of being God

The Word for today:

Luke 13:1-17
mark this: Luke 13:12-14
"Woman, you are set free from your infirmity." Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, "There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath."
Q. What put Jesus on the cross?
A. In a general sense, it was "enmity," the inherent hatred that evil has for good:
"I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." (Genesis 3:15)
But in a specific sense, the one thing--more than any other--which put Jesus on the cross was healing.
Q. Healing?
A. Yes, healing on the Sabbath. The Pharisees were looking for any excuse to string him up, so they seized on Sabbath-breaking.
Q. He was crucified for healing? Isn't that ironic?
A. I would say so! But life, and scripture, abounds with irony. Sometimes there seems to be more irony than not.
Q. Did Jesus actually break the Sabbath laws?
A. No. Jesus broke the Pharisees' interpretation of Sabbath law, but he did not transgress the law of God. The picky, fussy, anal, self-serving Pharisaic interpretation of the Sabbath laws would not permit such "work" on the Sabbath. But Jesus clarified God's law for them:
Then the Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?" As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him. (Luke 13:15-17)
Q. Do churches today perpetuate any 'picky, fussy, anal, self-serving interpretations?'
A. Indeed we do. For an example, you won't have to look any further than yesterday's blog, which pointed out the false choices presented by our baptismal traditions. Whether or not to sprinkle, pour, or immerse has obscured the real choice to be made between the baptism of fire or the baptism of the Spirit. Our traditions have buried baptism's meaning--which is intended to point to the meaning of the cross itself. We are buried under an avalanche of traditions and flawed interpretations which have compounded over time, leaving us--in ways we aren't even aware of--blind and cold beneath the drifts.
Between the lines of today's passage lies one of the most radical and seminal of all scriptural concepts:
God doesn't keep the law, he IS the law.
Embedded within God's covenant name (I AM THAT I AM) is this startling reality:
God doesn't correspond to a standard known as "right." Instead, "right" corresponds to whatever God IS.
These are far-reaching concepts, so we'll boil it all down:
Jesus was nailed to the cross because he was guilty of being God  (1).
(1) see John 5:18

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