Read: Matthew 12:1–14

For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. Matthew 12:8

There were rules that governed Sabbath in Jesus’ time. You couldn’t work on the Sabbath. You couldn’t enjoy recreational activities. It wasn’t even clear if you could help an ailing animal or human being that was suffering on the Sabbath—which appears to have made absolutely no sense to Jesus. Who was the Sabbath for anyway? Human beings or God—or both? And if the Sabbath had anything to do with glorifying God, did the Son of God not have the right to do the will of God on that particular day of the week?

Sometimes our rules get in the way of the good works God wants us to do. Rules can get in the way of mercy. Rules can restrict forgiveness. Rules have a way of nullifying grace. What if we just tried to love God and love our neighbors, as if those two rules were the only ones that really mattered? What if all things are negotiable, except for love?

What rules have you made that inhibit love, grace, and mercy?

Lord, I do have rules. I want to be respected. I want others to treat me as I have treated them. I demand that life be fair. When someone breaks any one of those rules, I dole out punishment. I speak hurtful words. I castigate people behind their back. I treat them as if I have never made a similar mistake in my life. I, I, I…perhaps I should be less interested in the rules I set up and administer and look to Your rules instead. I should focus on loving You and loving others. Lord, Your will, not mine, be done. In Your name, I pray. AMEN.