April 9: “Love the Bible AND People”

6 Minute Read

Today’s Bible Reading:

Deuteronomy 33:1-29
Luke 13:1-21
Psalm 78:65-72
Proverbs 12:25 

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Luke 13:15-17 (NLT): “15 But the Lord replied, ‘You hypocrites! Each of you works on the Sabbath day! Don’t you untie your ox or your donkey from its stall on the Sabbath and lead it out for water? 16 This dear woman, a daughter of Abraham, has been held in bondage by Satan for eighteen years. Isn’t it right that she be released, even on the Sabbath?’ 17 This shamed his enemies, but all the people rejoiced at the wonderful things he did.

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

In Luke 13, we read of a woman whose story tugs at our hearts. For eighteen years, she was doubled-over and wasn’t able to stand up straight. Luke said it was because of an evil spirit.

This woman showed up to a worship service on a Saturday (Sabbath), and Jesus happened to be there. He saw her, called her over to Himself in the worship gathering, and healed her.

The leader in charge of that synagogue saw what Jesus did and publicly proclaimed to the gathered crowd: “There are six days of the week for working. Come on those days to be healed, not on the Sabbath.” His comments were intended to publicly rebuke Jesus and shame the woman who had been healed.

We aren’t told that Jesus became angry, but I find it difficult to reconcile the words that came out of Jesus’ mouth with anything but an angry demeanor. Jesus looked straight at the pious synagogue leader and publicly fired some verbal darts.

Luke 13:15-16 (NLT): “… ‘You hypocrites! Each of you works on the Sabbath day! Don’t you untie your ox or your donkey from its stall on the Sabbath and lead it out for water? This dear woman, a daughter of Abraham, has been held in bondage by Satan for eighteen years. Isn’t it right that she be released, even on the Sabbath?’”

The synagogue leader and Jesus were at odds, and it was intense. The onlookers would have had wide eyes as they watched this scene. It would have made those in attendance very uncomfortable. 

Yet, it presented a very powerful lesson for those who contemplated what had happened. It revealed the stark contrast in how the synagogue leader thought of people when compared to how Jesus thought of people.

The synagogue leader elevated (rightly) the Scripture but failed to see people’s incredible value and the responsibility of serving (“agape” love) them. He didn’t care about the woman or her pitiful condition – he only cared about whether she was observing the Sabbath the way he thought it should be observed.

On the other hand, Jesus elevated Scripture while also recognizing people’s incredible value and the responsibility of serving (“agape” love) them. He acknowledged that the law (Scriptures) were given for people’s benefit if we rightly understand them.

Refuse to be like the synagogue leader. Refuse to pridefully claim allegiance to Scripture’s supremacy while cultivating no love for others, especially the hurting and needy. 

Instead, strive to be like Jesus. Love God’s Word, cultivate a servant-hearted love for others, and realize that God’s Law allows for and even encourages us to help and serve others. 

If we claim allegiance to God’s Word but aren’t loving and serving others, we’re just like the synagogue leader. Using Jesus’ word, we’re a “hypocrite.”


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Erika Giraud on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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