In high school, we read Leaf by Niggel by J.R.R Tolkien. I completely missed the point of the story. The main character focuses on painting perfect leaves rather than the forest. I thought Niggel’s missing the “big picture” was actually the “big picture” of the story. My grade reflected my missing the big picture.

In John 5:1-17, Jesus healed a lame man. Jesus told the man to take his pallet and walk, so the man obeyed the Lord. Next, the Jews noticed the man carrying the pallet. Since this happened on a Sabbath, they told him it was not lawful for him to carry it. The man defended himself by explaining what Jesus did and commanded. The man was simply obeying what the Lord had said. All because of this healing happening on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted Jesus.

What did the Jews miss? The big picture! Jesus healed a man who could only be healed by the power of God. The implication was that Jesus is God and is to be obeyed. The Jews completely missed the point of God working the miracle of healing. According to Scripture, work was forbidden on the Sabbath, not activity. Since no one has ever been paid for carrying their bed around, the Jews reinterpreted Scripture to agree with their man-made rules. That caused them to miss the big picture.

What rules do we impose and follow, which are not written in Scripture? How can we ensure we don’t miss the main point? Let’s sit down together over an open Bible and see the beauty of God’s works – leaves and trees and all – and let God show us the big picture!


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