What could the story of Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath possibly have to do with Vladimir Putin I wonder? Strangely enough there is something. This week food imports from countries which had placed sanctions on Russia have been banned by the EU and US. According to the BBC a supermarket in Moscow alone imports approximately 60% of food from other countries around the world. The bans have been put in place with the assumption that imports will be made from other countries, those not subject to EU or US regulation, around the world and also with the development of the State’s own agricultural sector, meaning that food should not be in shortage. If this plan fails, though, the nation could face a situation that would have a strong negative effect the citizens of Russia.
So what does this situation have to do with the healing on the Sabbath? Well not just this potential injustice for the Russian civilian but also every other occurrence of injustice around the world should be dealt with in the same way that Jesus reacted in this story. He faced the challenge of either healing a man on the Sabbath or not healing the man and sinning against God. In this example the choice had to be made of whether Law or Love came first. When faced with this challenge the reply that Jesus gave asked ‘which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ -Mark 3:4. There are many situations in which Christians are faced with dilemmas involving loving actions contrasting against direct commands, be they Biblical or State law. This does not mean that we should have a total disregard for the law as more often than not they are written up with the belief that in abiding by the law people are given the safest and best quality of life available. But in the example given by Jesus when adherence to the law became an obstruction in the face of acting out of genuine love for another person love always wins.
It becomes our duty to act in love towards each other even if this means going against the laws or customs of society. Rick Warren wrote in his best seller, A Purpose Driven Life, that our life is about learning how to love. If we witness or hear of a situation of injustice and fail to act out of love in order to stop it we have missed an opportunity to demonstrate our love for other people. If you choose to remain silent in the sight of injustice you have chosen the side of the oppressor. So here stands the challenge: Do you sit and contemplate the injustice of the world yet fail to act for fear of breaking the law or do you stand up and act in the knowledge that your bold action may save a life? After all love, through Christ, fulfills the law.
Header image rights; James Perkins