Josee and Ariel

african american teenage girl

She was relaxing on the sofa, waiting for him to come home.  As as soon as her class ended, she left the university campus. She took  the bus to the condo building where they lived.  She did her homework and or studied for exams in the study for about two hours.  By the time she was done, it was time to fix dinner.

She loved preparing dinner for him.  He enjoyed her cooking.  Her mother taught her when she was 12.  “One of these days you’re going to be a wife.  The sooner you learn how to cook and keep a home, the better it will be for you.”

And here she was waiting for her husband after preparing one of his favorite meals.  Being married to him was beyond what she could have ever imagined.  Every night, she thanked God for blessing her with a wonderful guy whom she was madly in love with and who was madly in love with her.

They got engaged just months after she had introduced him to her mother and sister.  She still hadn’t met his family as yet.  Only his grandmother who was her piano teacher.  Three years ago, it was at her house where they met one afternoon during one of her lessons.  It was on a Thursday afternoon and she was playing the piano when he walked into the living-room.

He sat in the chair by the window and listened to her play.  She was acutely aware of him but remained focused on her playing.  When she was finished, his grandmother, Mrs. Eidelman introduced them.  “Josee, this is my grandson, Ariel.  He’s a lawyer.”

Ariel smiled and held out his hand.  He had the most incredible eyes she had ever seen.  He was tall and very handsome.  “It’s nice to meet you, Josee,” he said shaking her hand.

She smiled shyly.  “It’s nice to meet you too.”

“While you two become acquainted, I’ll go and make us some tea.”

Josee sat down on the sofa and Ariel sat beside her.  “You play the piano very well,” he remarked.

“Thank you.”

“My grandmother is an excellent teacher.  She taught my brother and me how to play the piano as well.”

“Maybe you could play something.”

“Sure.”  He got up and went over to the piano.  He sat down and played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.  When he was done, he rejoined her.

“That was amazing,” Josee said.  “Is your brother as good as you?”

“He’s way better than me and that’s why he’s the musician in the family and I’m the lawyer.”

“How do you like being a lawyer?”

“Actually, I love being a lawyer because I get to make a difference in someone’s life.  I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer after I watched the movie, To Kill A Mockingbird.”

“That’s one of my favorite books.  I always said that if I were living in those times and my father was in trouble, I would want Atticus Finch to be his lawyer.”

Ariel smiled.  “It’s one of my favorite books too and Atticus Finch is the kind of lawyer whom most of us in the profession aspire to be like.”

Just then, his grandmother rejoined them and as they had their tea and Apple cake, they spoke about other things.  Then, it was time for Josee to leave.  Ariel offered to give her a ride home.

“So, you know that I’m a lawyer and that I have a brother but I don’t know anything about you except that you’re learning to play the piano.  Which school do you go to?”

She told him.  “It’s a very good school.  I’m going to miss going there.  I’m graduating this summer.”

“Have you decided what you want to study when you go to university?”

She nodded.  “Yes.  I’ve decided that I want to study biomedical engineering.”

“That’s great!” he exclaimed.  “Engineering has been a male dominated field for a long time but I don’t think it will be for much longer.  More and more women are becoming engineers.”

“My father was an engineer so I want to be like him.”

“Were you and he close?”

She nodded.  “Yes, very.  I was devastated when he died.”

“How old were you when he died?”

“Eight.”

“How old are you now?”

“Seventeen.  I’m going to be eighteen in April.”

“Are you dating?”

“No.”  She wanted to ask him the same question but was too shy to do so.

“I’m not dating either.  I’m ten years older than you so, would you have a problem dating me?”

She stared at him.  He wanted to date her.  “No, I wouldn’t have a problem,” she replied.  “What about your family?  Wouldn’t they have a problem with you dating me?”

He shrugged.  “They might.  My mother has always wanted me to marry a nice Jewish girl.  She even has one lined up for me but I’m not interested.”

“I’m a Christian.”

“So?  I won’t be the first Jewish guy to date a girl outside of my faith and I won’t be the last.”

“I don’t think my mother wouldn’t have a problem because, Jews and Blacks have a lot in common.”

“Yes.  We were once enslaved and have always been targeted by hate groups.”

“It’s a sad world we live in.  I can’t wait for Jesus to return.”

“So, are you busy on Saturday?”

“I’m free after sunset.  Like you, Saturday is my Sabbath.”

“So, you’re an Adventist.  I have several friends who are.  We have a lot in common, except Jesus.  You believe that He’s the Messiah and we don’t.  There are many Jews who no longer hold to a personal Messiah, but hope for a messianic age of justice and truth.  For many of us, the coming of the Messiah or the messianic age still lies in the future.”

“Did you know that the first Christians were actually Jews?”

“Really?”

“Yes.  All of the writers of the New Testament were Jewish Christians except Luke who wrote one of the Gospels.  He was a non-Jewish doctor.”

“That’s another thing we don’t have in common.  We don’t accept the inspiration of the New Testament or its account of the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.”

“In Hebrews, the writer explains how the sacrifices for sin and the Day of Atonement in great detail.  Maybe one of these days, we can read it together.”

“Maybe.  So, may I take you out for dinner on Saturday evening?”

She nodded with a smile.  “Yes.”

When he took her home and he followed her to the front door, she invited him in to meet her mother and younger sister, Deidre.  “It’s nice to meet you, Ariel,” her mother said as she shook hands with him.  “I’ve heard so much about you from your grandmother.”

Ariel smiled.  “It’s a pleasure to meet you too,” Mrs. Carter.  “You have a very nice home.”

“Thank you.  And thanks for bringing Josee home.  I hope we will see more of you.”

“You will,” he promised.  He smiled and shook Deidre’s hand before he announced that he had to leave.

Josee walked him out to the porch.  “Thanks for the ride home.”

“It was my pleasure.  I’m looking forward to seeing you on Saturday evening.  I’ll pick you up at 7.”

“Ok.”

“‘Bye, Josee.”

“‘Bye, Ariel.”  She watched him walk to and get into his car and drive away before she went back into the house.

“He seems very nice,” Deidre said.

“And very handsome,” her mother remarked.

That night Josee told her that Ariel wanted to take her out for dinner on Saturday.  “He wants to date me.”

“Well, I don’t have a problem with you dating him.  Just make sure that you don’t go to his place or do anything you know you shouldn’t.”

“So, you don’t mind that he’s in his late twenties?”

“I was your age when I met your father.  He was in his twenties too.”  She smiled.  “I don’t have any objections.”

Josee smiled.  “Thanks, Mom.”

After their first date, Josee and Ariel began dating.  On her eighteenth birthday, he proposed and she readily accepted.  She told her mother who said, “I think that the two of you should wait for at least three years before you get married.”

“You mean when I’m 21.”

“Yes.  You will be a young adult then.”

“All right,” Josee agreed.  “We’ll wait.”

“Make sure that the two of you go for premarital counseling.  It’s very important that you do.”

Three years later, soon after her 21st birthday, they got married by a rabbi and a priest at a non-denominational chapel.  It was a beautiful ceremony which included both Christian and Jewish rituals.  Her family, high-school and university friends were there.  Ariel’s parents didn’t attend but his brother and grandmother along with his friends and colleagues were present.  The reception was held at a banquet hall.  Josee looked lovely in her simple but elegant dress with her hair in an french knot.  Her face was devoid of any makeup and the only jewelry she wore was her wedding ring.  Ariel looked very handsome in his wedding suit.  As they faced each other and exchanged rings, there were tears in their eyes.  The love they felt for each other was evident on their faces.  Her mother was moved to tears.  In her heart, she knew that her daughter was going to be all right because God was in this.

For their honeymoon, they went to Montego Bay.  They spent eight glorious days on the island.  She smiled now as she remembered their first night in the suite after they had a mouth watering dinner and went for a walk along the beach.  They were both very nervous and excited.  For several moments they stood there staring at each other and then he was holding her in his arms and kissing her.  Since it was her first time, he took it slow.  However, the other nights, he was like a ravenous wolf.  She trembled at the memories.

“What are you smiling about?” the inquiry brought her back to the present and she looked up as Ariel walked into living-room.  She immediately got up from the sofa and hurried over to him.  He lifted her up in a hug.  She put her arms around his neck and lowered her head to kiss him.

“I was just remembering our honeymoon in Montego Bay,” she said after she drew back to gaze down at him.Image-4_4

He smiled.  “I think about it a lot too.”

“Dinner is ready.  While you go and change, I’ll set the table and share out.”

His eyes darkened on her face.  “I’m hungry but not for food,” he murmured before he carried her into the bedroom.  After closing the door behind them, he set her down by the bed so that he could get undressed.  Soon they were under the sheets making passionate love.

Dinner was still very warm when they finally had it.  As they ate, they told each other how their day went.  “I told my friend, Allison that we’re going to Florida next week for three weeks and she suggested that we visit Beth Tehillah Vetikva in Hollywood, Florida.”

“Is that a synagogue?” he asked.

“It’s an Adventist Messianic Congregation made up of both Jews and non-Jews who believe that Yeshua is the Messiah.”

“Josee…”

“I Googled them and it says on their website that they worship God in the context of their Hebraic heritage and they believe that we should live our lives by the word of God.  They also observe the Torah.  Please, let’s just go and see what it’s like.  Allison said that if you don’t like it, there’s a Jewish synagogue not far from there where you can go to instead.”

“All right, I’ll go but I’m only doing it because of you.”

She smiled.  “Thank you.”

They went to Beth Tehillah Vetikva and they both loved it so much that they decided to spend the entire three weeks in Hollywood instead of heading to Tampa as originally planned.  Several months after Josee graduated from university, they moved to Hollywood.  They joined the congregation of Beth Tehillah Vetikva after Ariel was baptized following a series of Bible Studies.

Ariel joined one of the top law firms in Hollywood while Josee got a Biomedical Engineer job at the University of Miami.  Eight years later, they were expecting their first child.  Josee’s friend, Allison was invited to the baby’s dedication because it was on account of her that they went to the House of Praise and Hope where Ariel finally accepted Jesus as the Messiah.

Many Jews now recognize that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel. The World Jewish Adventist Friendship Center therefore provides a place within the Seventh-day Adventist denomination for every Jew who is waiting for the second coming of Jesus our Messiah to worship God in the context of their faith without denying their own culture – Richard Elofer, World Jewish Adventist Friendship Center Director

Sources:  BBC; Shiksha; My Tea Planner; Inl India; IEEE Spectrum; The International Bible Society; Waiting for Your Boaz; Chicago Tribune; Linkedin; Beth Tehillah Vetikva; World Jewish Adventist Friendship Center;

For This Reason…

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work – 1 John 3:8, NIV

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When it comes to the meaning of Christmas, we always think of the nativity scene with Joseph, Mary and Jesus in the manger with the cattle lowing.  We think of the  angels who  appeared to the shepherds keeping their flocks to announce the good news of the Savior’s birth in the City of David.  We think of the shepherds rushing to Bethlehem to see the Child and then spreading the word concerning what had been told them about Him.  We think of the wise men who traveled far to see the King of Israel to bring Him gifts and to fall down in worship.

Yes, Jesus came into the world to save his people from their sins but there was another very important reason for His coming and it too is good news.  The apostle John tells us that Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work.  How does He do that?  Jesus Himself tells us as He quotes the words of the prophet Isaiah:  “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18, 19).  When Jesus was finished reading, He told those gathered in the synagogue that He had fulfilled that scripture that very day in their hearing.

Throughout His ministry, Jesus taught the people the Word of God which was the Good News of God’s love and His salvation.  He healed diseases and sicknesses, gave sight to the blind, made the lame walk and drove out unclean spirits.  He freed a woman who had been bound by Satan for eighteen years.  Eyes that were blinded were opened and sinners were drawn to the love of God which was manifested in Christ.  The Light had come into the world and many were brought out of the darkness.  Jesus came to reveal the true nature of the devil whom He said was a murderer and the father of lies.

Jesus accomplished not only salvation for us when He came but something else that is very important.  What was that?  Hebrews 2:14 tells us, Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14, ESV).   The Good News is that Jesus has given us victory over death which will be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26).  Death will no longer have any power over us.  Those of us who die in Jesus will be resurrected.  Death will lose its sting.  

Jesus came to take away our sins.  Sin is of the devil.  He uses deception to cause us to sin.  1 John 3:7 says that, “whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning”.  Jesus came to help us to stop making it a practice of sinning.  He Himself was as we were but He didn’t sin.  He makes it possible for us to follow His example through the help of the Holy Spirit who not only convicts us of sin but enables us to practice that which is good and right in the sight of God.  Being born of the Spirit means that we no longer practice sinning.  It doesn’t mean that we won’t ever sin again but we have the assurance that when we do, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1, 2, ESV).  

Thank You, Lord Jesus for coming into the world to destroy the power of sin in our lives through the Holy Spirit and for destroying the works of the devil.  As we celebrate this Christmas season, help us to enjoy the freedom we can enjoy only by living in obedience to You.

A New Experience

roger-bultot-synagogue
PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

My family and I drive past it every day on our way to drop our son to school. It’s a beautiful old building in a quiet neighborhood. I’ve often wondered what it looks like inside.

I recently learned that the word synagogue comes from the Greek word for gathering together. It can be a house of prayer, of learning or a meeting place.  It’s a place where people of shared faith feel at home.

I have a Jewish friend. I wonder if she wouldn’t mind me tagging along one Saturday. I want to experience what their worship service is like.

100 Words

This was written for the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields For more details, visit Here.  To read other stories based on this week’s prompt, visit Here.

Source:  BBC

Getting Away

He had just walked out of the synagogue when he saw them.  Arrested, he stood there watching Brittney with her ex-boyfriend, Andre, his heart breaking.  Burning jealousy swept through him.  They were standing a few yards away but she didn’t see him.

His sister, Anna joined him, saw his face and followed his gaze to where the couple stood talking.  Then, she looked back at him, concerned.  “Who is she?” she asked.

It took a moment for him to speak because he was so upset.  “Brittney.”

“Is she a friend of yours?”

“Yes.”  He turned away, unable to watch them any longer.  He started walk away and Anna followed him.

“Are you in love with her?”

“Yes.”

“Does she know how you feel?”

“No.”

“Are you going to tell her?”

“What’s the point?” he snapped.  “She doesn’t feel the same way.”

“How do you know that?”

“We just saw her with Andre, her ex.  It’s clear that she hasn’t gotten over him and I was a fool to believe that she had.”

“Oh, Paul, I’m so sorry.  What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know.  I need time to think.”

“Why don’t you go to Paris for a few days?  You haven’t taken a vacation in ages.  You’re long overdue for one.”

He glanced down at her.  “You’re right,” he said.  “I need to get away and try to figure out what I’m going to do.  If I stay here in London, I will be tempted to go to her and I can’t bear to see her right now.  It hurts too much.”  A muscle began to throb along his jawline and he quickly turned away.

Anna reached for his hand and held it tightly.  It hurt to see her brother like this.  He was a brilliant businessman but when it came to matters of the heart, he lacked good judgment.  This wasn’t the first time a woman broke his heart but it seemed that he fell really hard for this one.  Hopefully, he would get over her as soon as possible.  He deserved better.  The trip to Paris would do him good.  She went back to his flat with him and while he changed, she got his lunch ready.  She had just put a plate of food she had prepared yesterday and brought on the table for him when the phone rang.

“Do you mind answering that for me?” he called from the bedroom.

“Hello?” she listened for a moment.  “No, you have the right number.  This is Anna speaking.  Hold one moment, please.”  She placed her hand over the mouthpiece.  “It’s Brittney,” she said when he came into the living-room.

He shook his head, indicating that he didn’t want to talk to her.

“I’m afraid he’s not available at the moment.  Perhaps he will call you back later.  Goodbye.”  She replaced the receiver into the cradle and turned to look at him.  “Are you sure you don’t want to talk to her?”

He shook his head.  “I can’t right now.  I need to clear my head first.  I’ll call her when I come back from Paris.”

“All right.  Do you need me for anything?”

He smiled.  “No, Anna.  I’ll be fine.  You should go home to Peter and the kids.  I will call you tomorrow when I check into the hotel.”

She hugged him tightly.  “I love you,” she said drawing back to look up at him.

“I love you too.  And thanks for the food.”  He followed her to the door and they said goodbye.  He shut the door and leaned against it for a moment.  Why did Brittney call him? Was it to tell him that she was back with Andre.  He closed his eyes in despair.  It would kill him if she was.

Brittney stared at the phone, her mind swirling with all sorts of thoughts and questions.  A woman named Anna had answered Paul’s phone.  Who was she?  Red, hot jealousy surged through her and she was tempted to go over to his place right now and find out.  Then, she remembered that he had a sister and her name was Anna.  Relief washed over her.  Paul wasn’t seeing another woman.  But why hadn’t he come to the phone?  She looked at the clock above the mantelpiece, debating whether she should call again or wait for him to call.  It was after seven.  She decided that she would let him call her.  In the meantime, she fixed herself a light dinner and ate it in front of the television.

When ten o’clock came and she still hadn’t heard from him, she began to worry.  It wasn’t like him not to call.  It was too late for her to call him.  She would have to wait until the morning to do so.  Disappointed, she turned off the television and went to bed.

The next morning, she got up, showered, dressed and had breakfast.  After she was done, she hurried to the phone and called Paul but there was no answer.  When the machine came on, she left a message.  She went to church and as soon as she got home, she called but still no answer.  She tried his cell but it was turned off.  She tried all day calling both his home number and his cell until finally, in the evening, she decided to go over to his flat.  She rang the bell and knocked but it was clear that Paul wasn’t there.  Where could he be?  After standing there for a while, she left.  She was worried and had a restless night.

The next morning, she called him but got the same results.  She got ready for work.  On her way to the office, she called his cell but it was still turned off.  Intermittently, throughout the day, she tried to reach him but to no avail and by the time the workday was over, she was very anxious.  Why wasn’t he answering his phone and why hadn’t he called her back? When she got home, she decided that she would call his sister.  She took out the phone directory and searched for her name. She remembered that Paul said that she lived in South Kensington, twenty minutes from where he lived and that she was married to Peter Goldstein, the reporter from the Times.  She searched under Goldstein and found the number.

A woman answered and she recognized her voice.  “Hello, Anna, this is Brittney.  I spoke to you yesterday evening when I called for Paul.  Do you know where he is?  I have been trying since Saturday to reach him.  I’m out of my mind with worry.”

“Hello Brittney.  Paul is in Paris.”

“Paris?” Brittney exclaimed.  “What is he doing there?  Is he there on business?”

“No.  He needed to get away.”

“What did he need to get away from?” she asked, bewildered.  “It’s not like him to go away and not tell me.  And he didn’t return my call on Saturday.  Is-is he seeing someone?”

“No.  He went to Paris alone.  Brittney, I was with him on Saturday when he came out of the synagogue and saw you with Andre.  It upset him so much that I suggested that he should take a break and go to Paris.”

“Oh no,” Brittney groaned.  “He saw me with Andre and thought—”

“That you were back with him.  He was devastated.  I probably shouldn’t even be telling you this but Paul is in love with you.”

“And I’m in love with him.  I have been for a long time.”

“He thinks that you’re still in love with Andre.”

“I’m over Andre.  I have been for a long time now and it’s because of Paul.  Meeting Paul and his friendship has changed my life.  And seeing Andre again made me realize that the feelings I had for him are nothing compared to my feelings for Paul.  Andre wanted us to pick up where we left off but I told him that I was in love with someone else.  I wished him well and then, I walked away.  My past with Andre is over and done with.  My future is with Paul.  Anna, please tell me where he’s staying.  I want to go to him.”  Her life felt so empty without him.  She missed him so much it ached.  How she longed to be with him.

There was a brief moment of silence and then, Anna told her the name of the hotel where he was staying.  After Brittney thanked her profusely, she said, “I’m very relieved to know that you love my brother and I wish you two all the happiness in the world.”

Brittney thanked her again and rang off.  She quickly called the office and informed her assistant that she was taking the rest of the week off.  Then, she dialed the number to book the first available flight for the following day to Paris.  She packed a bag, her heart thudding with excitement.  She was going to see Paul in a matter of hours.  I can’t wait to see him.

Paul stood on the terrace looking at the city bathed in the crimson glow of the setting sun, wishing she was there with him.  “Oh, Brittney,” he whispered brokenly, dragging his fingers through his hair as he ached for her.  Paris was a city for lovers.  If only Brittney and he were lovers instead of just friends.  If only she were with him instead of Andre…

Frustrated, he went back into the room and was going over to the bed to lie down when he heard a knock on the door.  Frowning, he went to answer it.  Opening it he was startled to see Brittney standing there, luggage in tow.   He blinked, thinking he was imagining things.  She couldn’t possibly be here in Paris.  Then, she said, “Hello Paul.” She reached up and touched his face, her gaze almost a caress.

He eyes darkened and he caught her hand to draw her into the room.  “What are you doing here?” he asked when he had closed the door and was facing her.

“I had to come.  I called your sister and she told me where you were.  I had been calling for you since Saturday but when I couldn’t reach you, I got really worried.  I went by your flat but you weren’t there so when I got home.  I called your sister on Monday and we spoke for a while.  She told me that you were here in Paris and explained why.  You saw me with Andre.”

His expression became drawn at the memory.  “When I saw you with him, I felt as if someone had pushed their hand into my chest and ripped out my heart.”

She moved closer to him.  “I’m so sorry that you saw us,” said, wringing her hands.  “It wasn’t at all what you thought.  Andre wanted to resume our relationship but I told him that I was in love with someone else.”

“And what did he say?” he asked as he moved closer, his heart pounding.

“Nothing but I wished him well and walked away.”

“So, it’s over between him and you.”

“Yes and it has been over for a long time now.”

He was standing right in front of her now, their bodies inches apart.  Wordlessly, he pulled her against him and his head lowered towards hers.

She watched transfixed as his face drew closer to hers, her gaze dropped to his mouth.  Her eyes closed as waves of indescribable pleasure undulated through her body when she felt his lips brush against her.  Putting her arms around his neck, she responded passionately to his kisses.  They stood there in the room in the dappled shade of the setting sun as it streaked through the windows, exchanging feverish kisses.

“I love you,” he muttered when at length, he raised his head to gaze down into her upturned face.  “I love you so very much.”

She smiled at him.  “I love you too,” she told him.  “That’s what I came to Paris to tell you.”

“It’s funny but just a few minutes ago, I was wishing that you were here with me in the City of lovers and then you show up.”

“Yes.  You came to Paris to get away from me and here I am.”

“Yes, here you are.  I never want us to be apart again.  It was foolish of me to think that coming here would help in some way.  I missed you so much even when I thought you had gone back to him.”

“Let’s not think about when we were apart but enjoy being together now,” she suggested huskily.  “We are in the city of love so let’s do what lovers do.”

“Yes,” he whispered and picked her up in his arms.

 

 

 

 

Compassion

Shortly after Jesus told the Pharisees that God desired mercy not sacrifice, He went into the synagogue.  There was a man with a withered hand.  Instead of being stirred with pity for him, the religious leaders asked Jesus, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” so that they could accuse Him.  Whenever they engaged in dialogue with Him, it was never to learn from His teachings.  It was always to challenge Him and find reasons to accuse Him of being a Sinner.

It must have grieved Jesus to see the lack of compassion among men who considered themselves to be holy and righteous and children of God.  When He looked at them, He saw hypocrites.  And He addressed it.  “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Then how much better is a man than a sheep? Therefore, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

He told the man to stretch out his hand and He restored it whole like the other.   The Pharisees were angry and they left, plotting how they would kill Him.  They failed to see that the Sabbath was not just a day of rest but it was an opportunity for helping people.  They had turned God’s holy day into a day of dos and don’ts.  Jesus showed them that there was a different type of work to be done on the Sabbath.  It was community work–reaching out to the needy and the sick.  He showed them that if it was lawful for one of them to pull a sheep out of a pit on the Sabbath, then it should be lawful for a man to be healed.  A human was of greater value in the eyes of God than an animal.

This man was in the synagogue and he had a need.  Jesus saw it and addressed it.  Are there people in our church like this man who has an obvious need but like the Pharisees we see it but will do nothing about it?  Do we resent those who reach out in love and compassion to this person in need?  Do we grumble and complain?  Would God be happy to accept our worship or our offerings when we are not generous toward that person in our midst?  Jesus brought joy to the man.  He brought healing and wholeness and showed him that the God he worshipped cared about him.

Just as Jesus valued this man, we should value those around us.  Sabbath-keeping does not mean that we should ignore the needs of those around us.  The Sabbath is for doing what is good and showing the love of God for His creation.  When we do what is lawful on the Sabbath, we are honoring God.