Which is More Important?
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Which is More Important?
By Dr. Carol J Miller
Hello, boys and girls! Before you get too comfortable, I’d like you to do a favor for me. Would everyone please stand up! Now bend over and try to touch your toes. Don’t try too hard. Don’t bounce. Just see how close to your toes you can come comfortably.
Now, with your hands still hanging down, straighten up just enough to have your hands on your knees. Just stand like that for 30 seconds––half a minute. [Count slowly to 30. Tell the kids to stand up straight, then go sit down.]
Ask if standing all bent over was uncomfortable. Ask if it would be hard to play sports like that. Or help with the dishes. Or get dressed.
Tell them that the lady in today’s story had been bent over for 18 years! Do you think that she was uncomfortable? She must have had a terrible time doing things.
Do you think some people stared at her or made fun of her? 18 years! That’s how long it takes to get from kindergarten to high school graduation.
Well, one day Jesus saw the woman. What do you think that Jesus wanted to do for her? Jesus wanted to make her well––right that minute. Jesus did not wait; he called over to her to tell her she was healed. Then Jesus went to her and touched her and she stood up straight! Wow! Can you imagine how she felt?
You would think that everyone would be really happy for her. But one man was not happy. The leader of the synagogue (a kind of church) was angry. It was Sabbath––the day people went to church to worship God. Now there is a commandment that people should not work on the worship day. Instead they should go to church and pray and think about God. The angry man said that Jesus should have waited a day because healing the lady was a kind of work! He thought that poor woman should suffer one more day so that nobody broke a rule. If it were your grandmother or someone else you loved, would you want them to wait?
Jesus told the synagogue leader that he was only pretending to care about God’s law. Jesus told him that, if he were really a person who cared about keeping God’s law, he would not want the woman to be bent over one more second. Jesus knew there was a more important commandment: “Love your neighbor.” That’s the commandment the man should have cared about. The woman was more important than the law about when to work.
Jesus did the right thing. He loved his neighbor, so he helped her.
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible
Copyright 2014, Richard Niell Donovan