Lectionary Scripture: Mark 2:23-3:6 (NRSV)
One of the oldest vigilante characters in literature is Robin Hood. In his story, he was forced to go outside the law when injustice was prevailing by those supposed to uphold the law. We remember that he robs from the rich to give to the poor. While later legends make him nobility that takes the cause of the commoner, the earliest legends make Robin Hood an outlaw not of royal blood.
Every age seems to tell his story and a new movie is set to be released in November.
There is a romance about someone finding justice outside the law. It is no surprise that people often feel that they have been treated unfairly in life. We look to someone to right the wrongs. After all, what can we do if the system fails us?
Unfortunately, romance aside, vigilante justice often circumvents the rights of people and mob rule often isn’t interested in due process. Innocent people are often hurt and killed when people go outside the law. So when should we circumvent the law and when should we uphold it?
Jesus finds that the religious law in his day kept people from being helped as they should. He gives a kind of priority to helping people over and above the religious observance of the Sabbath. He wants to make sure that the leaders understand this priority and makes an example of a man with a withered hand. But taking the law into one’s own hands is often seen as subversive. Jesus was breaking age-old traditions and when this was thrown in their faces, they were mad enough to kill him.
This reminds us of how seriously people resist change!
On Sunday, I hope to explore how Christians seek to bring justice to a hurting world. We do what we can because Jesus did what he could to alleviate suffering. The difficulty is when systems are set up to allow people to suffer needlessly. How do we respond and what is the right thing to do?
I hope you’ll join us this Sunday at 8:30, 9:45 or 11 in the sanctuary or 10:50 in Wesley Hall!
Photo by Arran Bee via Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.