Once Jesus boldly declared to His disciples that the blind man was born that way to display the works of God, He did something that would have been an abomination to the watching Pharisees — He broke the Sabbath. Interestingly, by making clay to rub on the man’s eyes, the Lord hyperlinks to an Old Testament story from Exodus 5, when in response to Moses’ request to let the people go, Pharaoh became angry and told the Israelites that from that point forward they were to work even harder by making bricks without straw. Since it was the straw that held them together, this meant that the effort required to create each one increased exponentially. In a manner that proved His knowledge of Scripture, Jesus used dirt and saliva as a means of healing the beggar’s blindness as a reference to the labor of the Israelites — the kind that would have been explicitly forbidden on the Sabbath. While He knew it was against the law to do even as much as spit on the day of rest, the man’s plight so touched the Savior’s heart that He was willing to “work” to make him whole, even if it aroused the zealots’ ire. Though He was clearly aware of the code that governed religion, Christ’s heart was moved by the possibility of a restored relationship, so He chose to elevate compassion over the mandates of the law.
My friend, when it comes to human dignity, doing right in the eyes of God may force you to break the rules of religion. While legalism is about control and earning favor by trying to be perfect, real Kingdom living demands discomfort, and sometimes even radical action. Since true compassion can only be initiated through movement, putting the values of Jesus “in work clothes” is the most effective means of making Him known. Though understanding what the Bible says is important, doing it is what causes the lost and wondering world to take notice. When you devote yourself every day to emulating your Savior in word, and most importantly, in deed, His power flows through you to others and lives are changed as a result!