Is It Lawful to Do Good or to Do Harm on the Sabbath?

This meditation is based on a passage for January 15, 2011 in the Daily Lectionary Year 1 from the Book of Common Worship for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (1993).

Text: Mark 2:23-3:6

Reflection and Question: Back in Mark 1, Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath and it caused amazement and growing fame. By Mark chapter 3, the same actions bring skepticism and opposition. In the first part of this text, the Pharisees ask Jesus a question and He responds with the provocative idea that the Sabbath was made for us and therefore we can be flexible with it. In the second part, Jesus poses the question to the Pharisees who know the answer but cannot bring themselves to admit that Jesus is doing the good work of God. Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath? Why?

Prayer: Dearest Jesus, keeping the Sabbath holy is one of the commands given to Moses on the mountain to order our lives before God, whom You called Father. When we confuse rigidity with holiness, forgive and correct us. Soften our hearts. Amen.