August 21, 2016
Bible readings were Luke 13:10-17 and Isaiah 58: 9-14
If today’s message had a title it would be the following -
‘It’s Never a Bad Time to Show Love’.

We never talk much in churches about the fact that Jesus really knew his bible.
We tend to think he brought all this new teaching and new ideas about God.
Although he did that, he usually was just properly interpreting the scriptures.
What got him into conflicts was his interpretation often varied with the religious experts.

Today we heard a typical example of that.
Jesus heals a woman on the sabbath but is called on it by the local religious leader.
He chastises Jesus for violating the commandment to do no work on the sabbath.
He says ‘It’s a bad time to help the woman because it’s the sabbath’.
Then he says that ‘You’ve got six other days to do that work’.

Now we all know the history and origin of the sabbath law, right?
God made the world and all that’s in it over six days and then rested on the seventh.
Genesis says God then blessed the 7th day and hallowed it (made it holy).
God later gave Moses the 10 Commandments telling the people keep the sabbath holy.

Some people, even today, take that literally and do almost nothing on the sabbath.
But most consider the law to mean to dedicate the day to God and things of God.
Dedicating the day means focusing on God, preferably in worship if that’s possible.
But God wants us to focus on him and do his will every day of our lives.

So the day itself is not such a big deal for Jesus, as much as doing the things of God.
Jesus likely wouldn’t call for blue laws to be restored or to refuse to work on Sundays.
He once said the sabbath was made for man, and not the other way around.
He was riled when religious rules (like sabbath restrictions) got in the way of God’s will.

So when he did something good - healing the bent over woman,….THAT was God’s will.
It wasn’t work done at the expense of God or promoting his will; it wasn’t even work.
He says that doing good has no bounds or limits or excuses;….even religious ones!
His thinking was that ‘It’s Never a Bad Time to Show Love’ for someone.

Now as I thought about when I’ve thought it was a bad time to do good or shown love,…
I realized that we always find excuses that we seem to use, right?
So I made a list; I call them the ‘It’s a Bad Time Seven Deadly Excuses’.

  1. I didn’t have time to do that - (self first attitude)
  2. I couldn’t afford to do that; it would cost too much - (love of money)
  3. I just wasn’t in the mood or wanted to be bothered - (sloth, laziness) 
  4. I didn’t know them; if they’re friend or family I would have - (all are God’s children)
  5. They got themselves into this mess  - (blame victim’s lack of responsibility)
  6. I was afraid I’d look like, or be, a fool or sucker to do that - (pride)
  7. God would not have wanted me to do that - (false legalistic piety)

So for example, when we see a poor beggar on the street asking for money.
I’ll bet, if you’re like me, you’ve sometimes employed many of those excuses.
We didn’t have time (1) or money (2) or want to bother (3); or we don’t know them (4).
And we’ve probably said it;s their own fault (5); or worry that the money would be used for booze or dope instead of food so we’d be fooled and God would not approve (6 & 7)

That last one, the religion excuse was used against Jesus (and the woman) that day.
But the other excuses are also ones that Jesus encountered along the way.
They all have been used from time and eternity and still are today,…even by us.
But Jesus bottom line is ‘It’s Never a Bad Time to Show Love’.

Those excuses are deadly, not because they’ll kill us,…..
but because they kill a time when we can  feel good about doing good in the world.
And they kill time we could be spending with God as we go about doing His will.
Because whenever we spend time showing love, we spend time with God!

When Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem to go to the cross, it was a bad time for him.
He certainly had better things to do (1),….and knew the cost would be great (2).
It required a lot of effort (3) although he had never met those he’d end up helping (4).
Clearly, sinners had gotten themselves into their mess with God (5).
He did it, even though he end up the ridiculed fool who was mocked by many (6).
He defied what most said was the religious understanding about God’s forgiveness(7).

Jesus didn’t take up any excuses to show us that love,… 
but instead, took the time to take up his cross.
As he did that for us,….let us also always take time for others,….with no excuses.

Amen