6On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching. 7 The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. 8 But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” So the man came forward. 9 Then Jesus said to his critics, “I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” 10 He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! 11 At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him. (Luke 6:6-11, NLT)
I remember the first multi-choice exam I ever sat. It was in History, and I thought it was a brilliant idea, especially when I got the result. As far as I can remember, each question had four possible answers, so my chances of getting the the right answer went up from zero to one in four! It was easier to think about which one to pick than to think up an answer. History and I parted company soon after.
We all like choice, and the more choice we have the better, eh? Sometimes we make the right choice, sometimes the wrong one. Sometimes we get spoiled for choice, and we end up flipping a coin. Sometimes, though, we are spoiled by choice, not for it.
The Pharisees were spoiled by their choice. Jesus gave them a multi-choice question – save life or destroy it. No other options, no ifs, no buts, no number 3. Flip the coin if you want, but it isn’t coming down on the edge. It was an either/or, and neither wasn’t allowed.
We have either/or questions in our life too. Follow Jesus, or don’t. Do his will, or don’t. Do his work or don’t. Sin, or don’t. Save life, or destroy it. There is no neither. If we see someone about to step out in front of a bus, we have to try and stop them. If we see someone with a crippling affliction – physical, emotional, spiritual, whatever – we have to help them.
Doing nothing is destroying life. It is not really an option.