Journal Jn 7 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it.
Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from your fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well?
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” John 7:21-24
Observation: One thing is good and another (similar) thing is not. Does this resonate with what we see in the church today?
Analysis: I think that I could read into this section that Jesus marveled at the inconsistency of thinking and reasoning in these folks.
It is ok to get circumcised on the Sabbath because there must be obedience to the law of Moses.
It is NOT ok to heal someone on the Sabbath because the law of Moses does not provide that option.
Do I come across people that would recoil with much emotion about doing stuff differently, even though it makes sense (biblically) but “this isn’t the way it is supposed to be done!” That is what Jesus was answering the Jews with. Jesus, maybe plaintively, “Look…I did one work…one work…and you have problem with it? I healed this guy and are you telling me I shouldn’t have?”
I think in a broad sense, when Jesus is saying, “Don’t judge by appearance (propriety to tradition), but judge (evaluate) with right judgement (what is reasonable outside of tradition, irrelevant according to the Word, and effective in moving the Kingdom forward and changing MY heart).
I can look at the issue I used to see about clothing in a church gathering. Simple comparison, right? Dress to the 8 ½’s (no formal wear or clubbing get up) or casual wear.
Here’s one that came up yesterday for me: Covid stuff, and church gathering. I read about one mega-church pastor sues to open church and won referencing the scripture about “not neglecting to meet together.” Did anyone think about breaking down in small groups, house by house, during this time so that we care for one another and create witness in our neighborhoods?
Of course, we could (should) follow Jesus’ example and lay hands for healing on folks we see out in public….
Prayer: Father, this seems like a nuance, but to my mind, an important nuance. To think about this tunes up my authenticity in You.
Make me, lead me into greater boldness, following the Biblical, not traditional, example.