Have you ever read a Bible passage that just doesn’t make sense to you?
That is what happened to me this morning. I was reading a passage where Jesus appears to break the rules. As He does so, the Pharisees challenge Him about breaking God’s laws. If you want to read the passage for yourself, you can it’s in Mark 2 vs. 23 – 28.
At first glance, I thought this was the perfect passage for me.
These past few weeks have been incredibly busy for me. On top of my “normal” pastoral work, there have been family issues, a conference as well as other calls on my time and energy. I had reached the point where I was physically tired and I was feeling emotionally and spiritually drained.
When I get like that, I find it hard to connect with God. My times of prayer are a chore. My reading of the Bible feels like I am wading through treacle. God feels distant.
Of course, I know the answer to my tiredness is Sabbath. An opportunity to rest, and recharge the batteries. A time to breathe and take a breather. A time to seek God in the midst of it all. I rejoiced as I read Jesus words;
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
(Mark 2 vs. 27)
So, I spent some time dwelling in this passage. I read and re-read it. But, as I did so, I found myself questioning Jesus on His rule breaking. The more time I spent in it, the more I could see the Pharisees had a point!
Without rules, chaos ensues. Rules are rules and they are to be respected. The law is the law, break it and there are consequences. Rules give you clear expectations, boundaries. In this situation, there is a clear line and Jesus would have known what it was. As Harry Day once observed;
Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.
So, why does Jesus advocate law breaking?
Of course, Jesus doesn’t. It was not a clear cut situation. What Jesus observes is that the Pharisees had turned the law into something it wasn’t. They had added rules upon rules, and demands upon demands and the law had become clear cut. They failed to realise that life has its grey areas. Not everything neatly fits into our little boxes. As realisation began to dawn upon me I felt that God was saying
There is grace in the grey!
I sometimes find myself worrying about the decisions I make. I find myself asking “am I really doing what God wants?” Is this really what God is calling me to do? How do I know if this really God’s will?
Sometimes life is clear cut and decisions are straightforward. More often it is not. Instead of getting worked up, I have started to look for the grace in the grey.