Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sabbath Rest, and the Weaker Brother

14:1 One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. 2 And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. 3 And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” 4 But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. 5 And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” 6 And they could not reply to these things. (Luke 14 1-6)
Jesus bates them. I love it. He gets snarky with them. It’s funny. But he does so on behalf of those who are truly weak, the man with dropsy he wants to heal. He isn’t snarky in his own defense, but in the defense of others.
It’s a strange thing, we often think of the weak brother as the one bound by the law, we let them tyrannize as wolves in sheeps clothing. I actually once had a guy tell me I shouldn’t drink because he was a weak brother. Weak brothers don’t know they are weak. I laughed at him. College, fun days. Have to say I feel betrayed by Concordia Irvine for going dry this year. It used to exhibit some Lutheranism, but the error of its chapel services was allowed to fester too long, it has made itself manifest in the rest of the school. Yes, I maintain that if the chapel had maintained a semblance of liturgy, its policies would not be trying to mimic those of the Mohamedan now. It’s gross, and if they are the weaker brothers, why are they the one’s setting the policy?
Oh well, Jesus finds it that the weak brothers are not the one’s bound to the law, but the one’s tormented by the law. And for them he flouts the law. And then he challenges them, which one of you wouldn’t dig a donkey out of a well on the Sabbath. They couldn’t answer, they knew the right thing to do in that situation was dig the helpless creature of God out of the well. And so they understood Jesus. They didn’t like it, but they understood it. Today, you would have people, ostensibly Christian, who would say, I wouldn’t. Hypocrisy. These same people would probably not bother to go to church that day. They are resting they would say. No, our rest is in this man who broke the Sabbath for us, and then kept it with his death to rise again on the third day. The rest the Sabbath offers, is a rest not from work, but from the torment of the law, in the forgiveness of sins.

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