Encountering Jesus’ Desire
to Enter Into Our Struggle
By Amy Roller
When Jesus healed the crippled woman on the Sabbath, He taught the watching crowd that the Sabbath was established by God to demonstrate His loving commitment to us, not the other way around. Jesus corrected their misunderstandings and explained how this woman, as a daughter of Abraham and therefore a beloved child of God, was cared for by God much more than some donkey or ox. Even animals are led to water on the Sabbath by their owners. How much more will our heavenly Father provide for us on the Sabbath!
Jesus also demonstrated by this miraculous healing that He is God. He is Lord of the Sabbath (see also Matthew 12:1-8). He has authority to heal on the Sabbath because the Sabbath was established in order that God’s people could see how He provides for them when they don’t work (Exodus 16).
When God established the law that we should rest on the Sabbath day (Genesis 2:2-3), it was so He could show us that whether we are at work or at rest, He is always providing for us, always meeting our physical, mental and spiritual needs. When we rest, He is not resting on our behalf. It’s a humble reminder that we are dependent on Him for everything.
Many of us have been taught that we are to rest on the Sabbath in order to set aside a day to serve the Lord, or even as in the case of the Pharisees, to demonstrate our own self-righteous acts of obedience to religious rules that have been unnecessarily added to God’s command to rest on the Sabbath. As a result of these misunderstandings, our thinking becomes twisted, and we lose sight of the deep love, commitment and grace that comes from God alone. When we don’t comprehend the fact that Jesus has done ALL the work and begin to allow a perverted salvation story into our minds and hearts, we fall into the trap of works-based righteousness, and we are led down the path of spiritual decline or death. Indeed, without faith that Jesus did all the work on our behalf (and still does), “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6).
There is nothing we can offer God that can earn His favor. It is freely granted, and when we believe in faith that Jesus is God, who left His throne to dwell with us in the flesh, lived a perfectly righteous life, died the death our sin deserves, paid our debt with His blood, conquered death by His resurrection and sits at the right hand of the Father, we enter into a new covenant and can trust that God is working to meet every need before we even recognize it as a need. This includes our need for righteousness. He imputes His own righteousness to believers and gives us the ability to do good works in obedience to His will, for His glory, not our own.
This account has reminded me that I can trust that even when I’m doing no work, God is still working for me and meeting my every need. How much more valuable am I than a donkey or ox! In Christ, I am a daughter of Abraham. God cares about meeting my needs, and when I suffer, I know only He can set me free.
He wants to see me healed. I can ask anything in faith in the name of Jesus, and know that He is committed to meeting my needs. He hears my prayers and pleas. He answers them for my good, even when I mess up, and often in unexpected ways. I do not deserve His love and favor, yet He gives it freely and abundantly. This is the freedom I want to live in. Freedom in knowing that I belong to the most high God and that He would do anything for me, go anywhere for me, stop all hell for my rescue and deliverance. Praise you, Jesus!
I am so thankful for this teaching this week. I confess, I try to get hard things done in my own power sometimes. Like giving too many “yeses” when I should be saying “no” to some requests, or trying to exert too much control over the assignment to raise my children. But God has shown me such a better way to get things done: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
God has proven so many times that when I rest in faith, knowing He will meet all these needs, He does it and abundantly more! I want to live in that rest and peace this week. I pray that God would help me get out of my flesh and live by His Spirit today. That He would give me a wise, discerning and obedient heart to walk in the good works He has set before me, not for my own righteousness but for the glory of God. I need near-constant reminders that I am reliant upon Him for everything.
Amy Roller is a child of God, wife, and mother of two children. She spends her days educating and discipling her children, supporting her husband, and doing all the other stuff that goes along with being a wife and homeschool mom of young kids. She is an avid reader, tea drinker, and planner and is always looking for ways to make something unattractive into something beautiful and functional. She loves bringing women and families into her home around the Word of God to encourage them and to demonstrate the love of Christ. Her deepest desire is that God would use her life and the lives of her husband and children to draw others to Himself and disciple the body of Christ.