Animals and People
It went viral on the internet…the pictures of the little boy in the arms of Harambe, the 400-pound, 17-year-old gorilla. At first it appeared that the gorilla was trying to protect the lad, but then suddenly he picked the child up and dragged him through the water to the other side of the enclosure. The Cincinnati zoo’s dangerous-animal response team arrived, concluded that the child’s life was in immediate danger, and fatally shot Harambe to save the little boy’s life. Then the reactions poured in.
Jane Goodall, a famous primate expert, sided with the view that ape was trying to save the little boy and a lot of people agreed with her. They called for the mother to be punished. These reactions indicate that we live in a culture where many value animal life more than human life, but again there’s nothing new under the sun.
In the first century Jesus exposed how legalistic religionists treated their oxen and donkeys better than one of their own, a daughter in Israel.
“Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And look, there was a woman who had a spirit of weakness for eighteen years. It bent her over and she was not able to stand completely straight. When Jesus saw her, He called her to Himself and said, ‘Woman, you are freed from your weakness.’ He laid hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God.
Now the ruler of the synagogue became angry and said to the crowd, ‘There are six days in which it is necessary to work; therefore, come to be healed during those days and not on the Sabbath.’ But the Lord replied to him, ‘Hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath loose your ox or take your donkey from the feeding trough and lead it so it can drink? Now this daughter of Abraham, look at her. She was bound by Satan for eighteen years, shouldn’t she be untied from this bondage on the Sabbath?’
While speaking like this, He shamed all of His critics, and all the crowd rejoiced over all the wondrous things He was doing.” Luke 13:10-17
Whether it’s the “religious” fervor of 21st century animal activists or first century legalists guarding the sanctity of their holy day, Jesus exposes God’s compassionate heart toward those He made in His image. In this case Jesus demonstrates His love for a precious Israelite woman. She had suffered weakness generated by God’s adversary for eighteen years. Sabbath or not, Jesus didn’t make her wait another minute to straighten her back.
LORD, again You expose that debilitating disease that makes our bones twist and revolt is not Your handiwork but the work of Satan, Your enemy. Thanks for orthopedic surgeons who will operate today on curved spines and make them straight, but help me not to forget in this scientific age that there’s a spiritual struggle going on over our bodies and You’re the One who sets us free from the weaknesses that Satan brings.
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