Old Testament Lesson
We see that God is giving the people a warning about what He will do if they do not return to Him. He will bring destruction. He will bring judgement. That is a notion that we must all remember this morning. As much as God is a god of love and mercy, He is also a God, that if we believe the bible, we will stand before in one day and He will judge us. We will give an account to Him for our lives and the way that that we have served Him. He will demand an account of how we have used the gifts He has given us; of how we have been faithful to Him and His church.
And we see in the end what He wants. Not burn offerings, not going through the motions. He wants from us steadfast love. He wants from us the knowledge of God. Today, don't go through the motions and think that is enough. Today, offer God your steadfast, totally committed love.
New Testament Lesson
We see here once again that Paul's preaching of the gospel is not well received, and he is nearly beaten to death. Quite often, the gospel is not well received. To those of us that are Christians, it is the good news of our salvation. To others, it is something they do not want to hear. That is all the more reason for us to preach it, for they need it. Last night in Bible Study, I shared the words of St. Francis of Assisi, "Preach the Gospel at all times, use words if necessary." Today, in a world that doesn't want to hear, may we preach in all that we do.
I mentioned earlier that our faith is more than going through the motions; this passage is an example of that. Jesus is healing, doing good, helping others. But, the Religious Leaders say that is not what they are supposed to be doing on the Sabbath. Jesus says, I am the Lord of Sabbath, and He shows us that bringing life is what He is about. Jesus comes to bring life, bring hope, bring healing. He call us to do the same, life for Him, love and serve, not just go through motions. Today, may be live an obedient life, a "life giving" life, a life of service and grace, and may in all that we do, Jesus Christ be glorified.