Brothers and sisters:
I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. I became its servant according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil and struggle with all the energy that he powerfully inspires within me.
For I want you to know how much I am struggling for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for all who have not seen me face to face. I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Psalm 62:6-7, 9
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my deliverance and my honor;
my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.
Those of low estate are but a breath,
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
On another sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” He got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?” After looking around at all of them, he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.
In the Gospel, Jesus is trying to reveal the mystery of God to the Pharisees. As they watch him with completely stubborn, hardened hearts, only looking to see what they wanted to interpret from the law, Jesus was demonstrating the great mystery of how the law was fulfilled in him.
The Mosaic law that forbade work on the day of rest from our ordinary labor, was meant to show that we would enter into the rest of God with the coming of his Kingdom. It was a day set aside, for God’s work, just as we, who are destined for holiness, are also reserved for God and his service.
Jesus asked, “is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?” He reveals that in the Kingdom of God, life is saved. There is no sickness. There is no demon power. In the Kingdom, there is faith in God’s Word and God’s power is sovereign, overcoming the world, the weak flesh and the devil.
Sadly, as with the Pharisees, even Jesus could not violate free will. He could not make anyone put faith in him. We are all free to refuse to listen to God and we can be exactly like the Pharisees when we make our own rules and refuse to allow the Lord’s teaching to penetrate our minds and hearts. We are like the Pharisees when we make idols of ourselves, our comfort, our possessions, our power, or refuse to understand or forgive others.
Though the Pharisees opposed Jesus, Jesus never gave up on the Pharisees. It is that way for all of us until we draw our final breath. Let’s pray for ourselves and for our loved ones that ‘Christ in us’, will be the mystery we profess so that we may enter into His glory. Amen