Religion vs. Relationship | The Rev. Deacon Robert A. Jacobs

08.23.19 | Community, Pulpit Posts, World

In the Gospel story for this coming Sunday, a lady whose disability has caused her to be bent over for 18 years, walks into the Synagogue and upon seeing her Jesus who was teaching calls her to come to Him. He lays His hands on her and she is healed. The leader of the synagogue was not happy because Jesus had healed her on the Sabbath.

What is interesting is that those who were not followers of Jesus or non-believers would speak out against Him for working on the Sabbath, but he never seemed to work to perform a miracle. Sometimes he would say a couple of words, as he did in healing this lady. Once he spat into his palms, looked up to heaven with a sigh, then touched and healed a blind man’s eyes. More than once he just told people, “You can go home. It’s already done. Your sick relative is now alive and well.” It doesn’t seem much like work to me. Yet Jesus’ enemies used the pretense of work to try to bring him down.

If we look at the original Sabbath commandment, we see what these religious leaders had turned it into. The original is found in Exodus as part of the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:8-10 reads, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your livestock , nor any foreigner residing in your towns.”

This command was a way for the people to remember their God, who created a Sabbath at the end of the week of creation. On another occasion Jesus emphasized that, like all of God’s commands this command was given for our own good. It’s is a day for rest, a day to recharge our bodies, a day to focus on the Lord who gives us the capacity to the other six days. It brings balance to our lives.

That day the Synagogue leader was trying to do good, to keep things orderly and proper. Both he and the Pharisees that day were in the presence of the very Son of God, and they missed it! Why? No relationship just religion.

So, if there is no one good, what hope do we have? We have a Savior, Jesus, who died for us as the perfect sacrifice for all our sins, so we need to trust our lives to Him. We need to love God who already loves us and who wants to save us. He is in pursuit of a loving relationship with us. God reaches out to us, much like Jesus reached out to the crippled women.

Christianity points us to Christ. It’s a relationship, not a religion. We need to stop trying harder and start trusting more. As we cultivate our relationship with Jesus, he will unite us from those things that bind us, and give us the freedom to grow in him and everything else will fall into place.

Rev. Robert Jacobs

Rev. Robert Jacobs

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