Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored … But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus. Matthew 12:13-14

The Pharisees thought it was wrong to heal on the Sabbath, but it was okay to plot murder! In their defence, the Pharisees would probably quote the story of a man who was put to death for collecting firewood on the Sabbath. Yet in context, this man was sinned defiantly (Numbers 15:30-38).

Michael Yaconelli in Dangerous Wonder writes, “It was Jesus who taught us how to break the rules. It was Jesus who touched lepers; against the rules. It was Jesus who broke the Sabbath; against the rules. It was Jesus who forgave people of their sins; against the rules. (Adulterers were to be stoned, not forgiven.)” Jesus knew when and where to break the rules because he lived in a dependent relationship with God.

The Law was only ever intended to lead us to Christ, “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). Yet so often the Law has been used to drive people away. People who felt they could never measure up, who felt they had failed too badly or were too tired to try anymore. The Law was meant to lead us into the same dependent relationship that Jesus had with God. Then, we would do the will of God from our hearts (Ephesians 6:6), and not from a rule book.

When we understand our relationship with God, we know that God is pleased with us because we are his children and not because we “keep the rules.”