• Rev. Stephanie Thompson

Understanding God's Word Requires Letting Go and Leaning In




When Jesus left the field, he entered their meeting place. There was a man there with a crippled hand. They said to Jesus, “Is it legal to heal on the Sabbath?” They were baiting him. Matthew 12:9-10

Leaning in is dangerous. Especially when it pertains to worldviews and theology. It can lead to becoming enlightened and transformed. Consider the pharisees, who were steeped in the law. Since children, they spent their days memorizing God’s word and becoming familiar with Jewish Law. They knew the Messiah was coming to fulfill scripture.

However, who they encountered wasn’t what they expected.


Therefore, a series of ideological conflicts proceeded with the man who claimed to be him. Certainly, others had claimed that identity before. Yet, Jesus demonstrated authority over things of this world that the others couldn’t. The pieces began to come together. But to embrace God’s vision for a new Kingdom meant letting go of the securities found in the earthly one. Status. Earthly identity. Perceived power. Relationships. Worldview.


Jesus’ message was intimidating. threatening. Everything would change for them if they leaned in. So, instead, they tried to push him away. With their “weapon.” Authority. But that didn’t hold power to his. Heavenly rooted authority defines earthly ones.


He replied, “Is there a person here who, finding one of your lambs fallen into a ravine, wouldn’t, even though it was a Sabbath, pull it out? Surely kindness to people is as legal as kindness to animals!” Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” He held it out and it was healed. The Pharisees walked out furious, sputtering about how they were going to ruin Jesus.” Matthew 12:11-14

Jesus challenged them to think outside the ideologies that had become their truth. The Pharisees knew the worth of a lamb. It provided a means of food, income, and sacrifice. The shepherds watched their flocks meticulously. The loss of even one had significant implications. Their livelihood would be impacted. Jesus knew the real issue with the healing. And it wasn’t about the Sabbath. They knew that.


Jesus pointed them back to God’s word. In context. The bigger story. Not the evolved narrative developed in attempts to cling to earthly securities.


At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.” 3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests. 5 Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests in the temple break the sabbath and yet are guiltless? 6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.  Matthew 12:1-5

The Temple arrived. But they missed the point because they refused to let go and lean in. To God’s voice, not theirs.


I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.” Matthew 12:6-7

What do you need to let go to lean in?

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Hope Covenant Church,  14401 West Ave. Orland Park, IL 60462  |  info@orlandhope.org  |  Tel: 708-873-3640

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