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“How Jesus Read Scripture”
The Second Sunday after Pentecost
As you may have noticed, the same sort of thing which happened in this morning’s gospel lesson happens all around us all the time; good people, all of whom truly love God, reading the exact same scripture and coming to completely different conclusions.
Jesus’ critics in today’s gospel lesson from Mark were Pharisees; good people, who were deeply committed to living truthful and righteous lives. But, when they read scripture, they saw what scripture prohibits on the Sabbath, while Jesus, reading the same scripture, saw what scripture allows on the Sabbath.
Which, needless to say, comes to us as no surprise. Because we have read the four gospels, we have seen Jesus, over and over again, get in trouble for interpreting scripture in the most generous and expansive of ways; always reading scripture through the lens of, and in the light of, love.
To read the four gospels is to see that, while Jesus loved scripture, he loved people more. And, he didn’t apologize for it. To the contrary, when Jesus encountered, in today’s gospel lesson, some very good people who seemed to love scripture more than people, “He looked at them with anger, and was grieved at their hardness of heart;” which may be the only time in the whole Bible when we see Jesus that mad and that sad in the same sentence. An indication, perhaps, of how important it is for all of us, always, to read, and interpret, scripture as Jesus did; through the lens of, and in the light of, love.