Yesterday was quite a day for Oklahomans. The bridge collapse at May and NW Expressway is just a few blocks from my house. I had traveled under the bridge just 18 minutes prior to the collapse. Then there is our beloved Legislature, who can’t pass a bill that will pass constitutional muster to save their souls. Yesterday’s embarrassment was the bill that criminalizes abortion, making it a felony for the physicians. Today there will be some equally useless trans bathroom legislation. Our State is a model of inefficiency and crony capitalism.
Don’t get me wrong – I would consider myself pro-life in many, many ways. But today Governor Fallin will almost assuredly sign yesterday’s crap into law, in a pathetic show of political grandstanding, knowing she will cost Oklahomans millions of additional dollars in court fights, only to end up where we started, with no laws that protect children or aid in their education, care, or upbringing. There will be no protection for the unborn either.
Some might argue these legislators are standing up for what they think is right, but the reality is there is a right way to stand up for the rights of unborn children and there is a wrong way. The medical doctors I speak to tell me this is the wrong way. This is just more garbage legislation from a garbage legislature.
To these legislators I would say, if you want to get the “conversation going” don’t use our expensive, overrun courts for it. They are busy cleaning up the mess from you all defunding education and every other program that protects the needy, afflicted, and vulnerable among us. It is your policies that have led to all these abortions, with women feeling they have no other options. Get the conversation going in your synagogues and churches, and win over the heart of the people. Help support and value these young women who are facing the hardest decision of their lives. Don’t throw them to the wolves of compassionless draconian ideology and pepper it with punitive threats. Gimme a break.
This is what we do in Oklahoma – we break laws (in this case fiscal discipline, common decency, and compassion) for no other reason than political gain, votes, and grandstanding.
What’s ironic is that I turn to our scripture today and see Jesus breaking a law. But every time Jesus breaks commandments, he does it for more than just show – but for a good reason. He reinterprets the law. Today his disciples break the Sabbath, and Jesus runs to their defense. He uses it, not to justify their behavior, but to declare that scripture is not as black and white as the Oklahoma legislators (oops, I mean the Pharisees) would like. He also goes on to cast the Law in a different light, declaring that “…the Son of man is lord of the Sabbath.”
Then he himself breaks the Sabbath by curing a man with a withered hand. His bold initiatives get him in trouble and help cast the trajectory of the Gospels. Political grandstanding? The argument could be made. Now the Pharisees have some ammunition and “went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.”
Jesus helps plumb the depths of the law – its intricacies and its purpose. Oh how I wish he would show up and explain the issues of our day to our beloved legislators.
It is obvious Jesus understands the trajectory of the Wisdom literature and is a well-read rabbi. We talked about Wisdom literature earlier in the week, remember? Jesus is making more than just a point about compassion or hunger on the Sabbath, but a bold statement about interpretation of Scripture. He is declaring that righteousness and integrity are essential components. Wisdom is subjective and lives in reality. Situations must be interpreted in the light of scripture. This is why we have preaching in today’s churches! We interpret the law for our day. It is not that scripture changes, but as the situation does, and we must come back to scripture time and time again, seeking God’s truth in each situation.
This is not the law falling apart as some “all-or-nothing, black and white” thinkers might declare this blog to be. He is saying compassion is more important. He is saying with the Sabbath argument, “Hey what about the hunger! Isn’t that a sin too!?” He argues that by focusing only on the result (i.e. breaking a law) but ignoring why we are breaking the law (i.e. hunger) we have failed to understand the law altogether. He went all the way to the cross for his interpretation of Scripture.
I am thankful for Jesus who reveals to us a Compassionate God who wants us, above all else, to be fed and whole in his sight, and for all to have the adequate resources they need for life to flourish.