Your Kid Throws the Football All the Way to You for the First Time: What Do You Do? Criticize The Throw?

Posted: March 15, 2015 in Gospel of Luke
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Luke 13:10-17 — Have you ever been so caught up in the rules of whatever you are doing that you forget to enjoy it? There are times when we are parenting that this is true. There are times that we want our kids to do things a certain prescribed way that when they accomplish the task we do not celebrate the victory but criticize the small things that they did wrong. It is like teaching a kid to throw a football for the first time and they finally get it to you and criticize that it wasn’t a perfect spiral rather than celebrating that they finally threw the ball all the way to you. Sometimes, we miss the big picture because we are focused on details. I think that is what Jesus is saying here. The big picture is two things. The big picture is what the Sabbath is really for. The big picture is that Jesus is greater than Satan.

Some people might use this as an example that the Old Testament law is no longer applicable to us. Jesus seems to be throwing the 4th Commandment on its ear. Jesus says, “You hypocrites, each of you works on the Sabbath. Don’t you untie your donkey from its stall on the Sabbath and lead it out for water?” He seems to contradict the fleshing out of the Commandment in Deuteronomy 5:13-14 where God tells us, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do.” Is Jesus contradicting Himself? That would make the Bible inconsistent with itself – which it is not. So, if God does not contradict Himself, and Jesus is God in the flesh, and the Bible is God’s Word and therefore perfect and non-contradictory with itself, then what is Jesus saying? If Jesus during his earthly visit had known about football, He would have said, “be proud that your kid got the football to you and not worry that it wasn’t a perfect spiral?”

Seriously, though, it was Jesus who said in Matthew 5:17-18, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Jesus is not throwing away the Law here. He is saying that we must not get so caught up in what we are not to do on the Sabbath as we are to focus on what it is supposed to be about. The Sabbath is about taking time out of our busy week to concentrate solely on praising God. There are some Jews even after the invention of electricity who would not even turn on a light because it might be perceived as work. The Sabbath is not about a list of do’s and don’t’s, it is about celebrating who God is. It is about setting aside time to praise God individually and corporately. It is about setting true toil aside for a time and praising God. The Pharisees had written extensively about what constituted work on the Sabbath. They had got so caught up in their own minutia of detail that they forgot what the purpose of the Sabbath was. It was to be a time of all out praise for God. Not condemning one another for violating the Sabbath. It was about shouting praises to our Maker. Jesus was saying it is about praising that which is praiseworthy not faulting someone. Jesus was saying that it was about celebrating the kid finally passing the ball into his dad’s hands rather than it being about the details of the throw. We must remember to celebrate what is praiseworthy and true rather than undermining the miracle with criticism of the details. In practical application for us, do we celebrate that which is praiseworthy or do we criticize how it was done?

The second part of the big picture here is that Jesus is greater than Satan. All disease and illness in this world is a direct result of the fall of man. Through the temptation of Adam and Eve and their failure to obey a simple command of God, sin entered our world. We lost the perfection that we had in the Garden when Adam and Eve were seduced into thinking that they were the decision makers as to what is right and wrong. Sin began there. Sin spiraled outward from there. The earth itself and all that was in it began to groan under the weight of what Adam and Eve started. Death and disease and decay became part of the world. Imperfections in body, mind and soul were introduced to the world. Satan revels in the power that He has over this world with its death, disease and decay. He revels in the powerlessness we feel. He revels in the fear that we have about death and disease. In this act, Jesus heals a woman who has been shriveled up in pain for 18 years. That is a small detail that is part of the bigger picture. Luke, being a physician, writes about this detail in some detail. But Luke includes it in his gospel not as an example of his specific interest in Jesus’ healing miracles because of his profession. No, he includes it here because it is an example of the bigger picture. The bigger picture is that Jesus is the Son of God. The bigger picture is that Jesus is greater than this fallen world. The bigger picture is that Jesus is not limited by the same physical laws that we are limited by because He is God. The bigger picture is that Jesus is greater than this sin-filled world that we have brought on ourselves. The bigger picture is that Jesus is greater than Satan. Jesus is greater than Satan. Believe it. Regardless of what horror movies tell you about Satan to sell tickets, all we must do use Jesus’ name and every demon will flee. Every time a demon comes in contact with Jesus in the Bible, they know who He is and cower in fear before Him. Let us remember that anytime we are afraid and worried. Jesus is bigger than Satan. Jesus can kick Satan’s butt. Jesus is bigger than any problem or oppression or depression or possession that we feel. That’s the big picture.

Let us remember always to celebrate what needs celebrating. Let us not let Satan win by getting caught up what somebody didn’t do right. When we do that, we rob God of glory. We take the eyes of people off the victories that are won. We take the eyes of people off God when we do that. Let us praise those things that celebrate the power of God in our lives rather than looking downward at the details. Let us celebrate the victory rather than the fact that it was not done according to the way you thought it should be done. Let us remember that we are all here to give God glory. Let us keep our focus on that rather than our man-made rules of how to do things. Ultimately, we must remember that it is about celebrating God who is greater than all things and greater certainly than us. Let us celebrate who He is in all that we do. That was was the 4th Commandment was all about – teaching us to give glory to God not about what you should and shouldn’t do. Jesus is not throwing away the 4th Commandment in this passage, He is fulfilling it. He is directing us toward fulfilling it. A miracle just happened and we should be praising God not getting mad about the fact that he violated a Pharisetical rule of interpretation of what constitutes work. We should celebrate the glory of God as expressed through the person and work of Jesus Christ. He is God. He is greater than Satan. Celebrate that! Praise that! Just as when my child finally throws the football well enough to get it into my hands! I must run and pick that little boy or girl up and praise them immeasurably rather than picking apart how imperfect the throw was! Amen and Amen.

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