Good is from God.

“Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good.
Anyone who does what is good from God.
Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.” (3 John 11)

I heard about a man who was unmarried. He had been traveling all around the country giving lectures on the “Ten Commandments for Parents.” He fell in love and got married. After he had his first baby, he changed the title of his lecture to “Ten Suggestions for Parents.” With the second baby, his lecture was called “Ten Helpful Hints for Parents.” When the third child came, he stopped giving the lectures altogether.

This story gives us an idea of how difficult it is to live out what we talk about. Most people have the same issue applying what we believe and talk about to our daily attitudes and behavior. However, if we know the point of all teachings, it may be easier to live what we talk about. Let us find it out what the point is from Jesus.

Jesus went against God’s Law. Jesus used to cure the sick on the Sabbath day. The Religious leaders taught that you should keep the Sabbath day if you believe in God, which means you shouldn’t do anything. You should rest on the Sabbath day because it is God’s command. However, Jesus worked on Sabbath day and said, “My father is always at his work to this very day, and I too, am working” (John 5:17). In this case, we wonder if God also didn’t keep the commandment he taught us, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”

The Christian tradition teaches us the Ten Commandments are from God. And we are trying to live them out in our daily lives. Yes, we should keep them. However, we wonder why Jesus is going against one of them, not keeping the Sabbath day. Jesus is not merely against one of the Commandments, but he just gives them a parable to teach. In Luke 4:31-37 and 6:6-11, Jesus healed illness on the Sabbath day. Jesus already established his authority over the unclean spirits, and he argued that it was right to do good and to save life on the Sabbath. Jesus’ parable with this healing of a woman gives us Christians’ importance in how we live the Commandments out. The Ten Commandments are based on God’s love; it is not simply for keeping the rules. If we try to keep the law without love, we may make a big mistake. We need to be careful to understand what God tells us through the Scripture. The purpose of God’s Ten Commandments is to protect those who are powerless in society, such as women, the sick, widows, children, and seniors. Many leaders had used God’s law to rule over the weak and the powerless at that time.

Jesus healed a woman who was possessed by unclean spirits. As the traditional custom of Jews, a woman could not come to the front of people by herself. Furthermore, a woman or a man who is possessed by evil spirits was treated as a sinner. Nevertheless, Jesus called the woman to come in front of the people and proclaimed that the woman is free from her illness. Jesus teaches that concern over the suffering of fellow human beings takes precedence over obligations related to keeping the Sabbath.

The women’s condition is attributed to a spirit of weakness. “For eighteen years, she had been bent over, unable to stand up straight.” Jesus answered the synagogue leader by contrasting what one would do for an animal with what he has done for the woman. So, it gives us an implication that they may treat women worse than their animals. As Jesus mentioned the woman as a “daughter of Abraham,” he confers a status of dignity on the woman. Jesus is in the process of releasing the captive, freeing the oppressed, and raising up children to Abraham.

We remember the story of a rich man who kept all the Ten Commandments from his childhood (Mark10:17-31). Jesus looked at him and loved him, and he said, “One thing you lack, go and sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven. Then come and follow me.” However, he did not do so because he had great wealth. The rich man kept all the Commandments in his life, but he could not give his property to the poor. He loved his wealth more than his neighbors. He kept the Commandments literally, not with his heart, his soul, and his mind.

Jesus taught us what the Greatest Commandment is for Christians in the Gospel of Matthew 23:34-40. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind. It is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Who is our neighbor? They are perhaps those who are in need, the oppressed, the powerless, and the sick. If we are Christians, we should treat our neighbors as well as ourselves.

Go back to the teacher I shared with you at the beginning. The teacher taught the “Ten Commandments for Parents” before he became a parent. Howev-er, he changed his teaching topic to the Suggestion for the Parents, and eventual-ly, he stopped teaching parents. We may assume it is not easy that we live out what we teach, or what we talk about. However, remember what the most im-portant thing is for Christians. It is to love God and to love neighbors.

We are imperfect, and we cannot live out what we were taught and what we teach. Therefore, we need God’s help. Jesus said to us, The Holy Spirit helps us to remember what Jesus taught us and guides us to live them out in the world. The way we ask for God’s help is to pray to God. Through our prayers, God helps us to be strong enough to live out with the love of God and the love of our neigh-bors. Let us do good with all hearts and all minds, not literally or in tongue. Do your best as often as you can because good is from God.

Pastor Jenny