Am I My Brethren's Keeper?
Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him (Luke 13:10-17).
Jesus chastised those who questioned Him about healing the woman on the Sabbath, drawing attention to the hypocrisy of those that valued their livestock, rather than their fellow man. However, if we are honest, we ourselves can get “busy” with various entertainment outings and or family events that take us miles from our homes without much of a thought but be lulled into believing that a brother or sister who can be encouraged, lives way across on the other side of town. But in Matthew 10:25, we learn that it is enough for a disciple to be like his teacher and a servant like his master. Jesus’s compassion for others was evident, as well as for those that are lost, such as in the case of the Prodigal Son, who repented and was celebrated.
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:10-17).
Attention is drawn to the fact that the Jewish mindset was centered on their material possessions, that they would leave ninety-nine sheep behind to search for the one sheep that was lost. Spiritually, how much more should we as members of the Body of Christ have the same regard for a brother and/or a sister who has erred and/or fallen from grace and needs to be returned to the flock?
“Let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:20).