Everyone knows that in the days of Jesus the Jewish people lived by a very strict set of rules. Some people belonged to a sect called the Pharisees, which means “separated.” The idea was to be completely separated from sin by strict obedience to a massive collection of legal instructions designed to keep members from breaking any one of the cardinal laws of Scripture. The outcome of such a repressive religious system was pride and hypocrisy. Since perfection is unattainable the practice couldn’t help but lead to hypocrisy.
One Sabbath Jesus was teaching in a synagogue when a woman, crippled eighteen years by a demon, came in. Jesus called her over and touched her bent back. Instantly she stood erect and began to praise God. The synagogue leader was indignant and pontificated that it was improper to heal on the Sabbath. (Plenty of week-days for things like that!) Jesus denounced them as hypocrites, pointing out that since they watered their animals on the Sabbath surely he could set a daughter of Abraham free on that day. The Pharisees were embarrassed but the crowd was overjoyed.
So the question is — How do we live like that? Granted, we are not in the business of expelling demons on Sunday, but what can we learn from the way Jesus conducted himself? One thing is that he called hypocrisy for what it is. Understanding the duplicity of human nature he pointed out the hypocrisy of those who were abusing their power. I believe followers of Christ should not grow insensitive to social maladies. There are congressmen to write and marches to join. Our home may be in heaven but it is this present world in which are living for now. Another thing is that Jesus argued quite convincingly to make his case. Can we not give thought to the inequities of today’s world and think how we can effectively enter the discussion? And finally, he cared about a woman crippled for life and did something about it. Yes, I think we can follow his example.