Matthew 9:10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. Mat 9:11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Mat 9:12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Mat 9:13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew 12:1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. Mat 12:2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” Mat 12:3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: Mat 12:4 how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Mat 12:5 Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? Mat 12:6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. Mat 12:7 And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. Mat 12:8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” (Quotations are from the English Standard Version of the Bible [New Testament.])
It has been more than a month since my last blog article, so I thought I ought to at least write something to let people know I’m still “among the living” – and have not entirely lost interest in blogging. 🙂
There have certainly been plenty of things I could have commented on during that period of time, mostly of a political and/or religious nature (generally centered on the “Jewish State of Israel” and the almost total subservience of the U. S. Government and politicians to that illegitimate and ‘demonic’ State). However, I find most of those matters so disgusting and depressing that I just couldn’t bring myself to write anything. When one is angry, it’s generally better to ‘hold your tongue’; otherwise one is likely to say things he/she will later regret. Anything I wrote would have fit in one of these two categories: “angry rants” or “whining and complaining”. 🙄
However, this morning a Yahoo article appeared which I thought provided an excellent opportunity for a blog article which would avoid the “angry rant” and “complaining” categories – and would perhaps provide a bit of humor at the expense of certain religious clerics. The article is entitled: How much trouble is Iran’s Ahmadinejad in for hugging Hugo Chavez’s grieving mom?
It seems that Iranian President Ahmadinejad offered his condolences to the mother of the late President of Venezuela by holding her hands and hugging her – and this act of kindness and consolation was caught on camera. Now for most of us here in “the West”, there’s nothing out of the ordinary in this. It’s not all that unusual for people to hug each other as a form of greeting and (as in this case) as a form of sympathy.
However, in Iran (and I think in most other Muslim nations and cultures) it is quite taboo for a man to hug a woman (or hold her hand) who is not a family member. Mr. Ahmadinejad himself is, normally speaking, a strict observer of this taboo. I have seen a video clip or two of the Iranian President conspicuously keeping his hands at his sides when a “Western” woman attempted to get him to shake her hand. He was very polite and friendly, and seemed to be ‘pretending’ that he didn’t even notice her outstretched hand in order to avoid seeming rude; but he wouldn’t touch the woman.
However, Mr. Ahmadinejad was in Venezuela, not Iran, for this funeral; and hugging is an accepted custom in that culture. By acting in keeping with the customs of Venezuela, he was just expressing the kindness and compassion called for by God’s prophets (including most especially Jesus the son of Mary and Muhammad – peace be with them both.) And as Messiah Jesus pointed out, kindness and mercy are more important than detailed observance of outward legalities.
It would seem that President Ahmadinejad understands “the heart of the matter”; he has the “spirit of Christ” (as well as the “spirit of Muhammad” – peace be with them both) in him. While he ordinarily observes the outward forms of Islamic practice, he recognizes when it is better to let mercy supersede ‘sacrifice’.
On the other hand, certain Muslim clerics in Iran manifest the fact that Pharisaic legalism was not restricted to the time of Christ and the Jews. There are ‘Pharisees’ among the clerics of Islam in Iran (as well as among some Christian people, and no doubt people of other religions – and even non-religious people regarding ‘secular’ laws). These clerics are very punctilious as regards outward forms and rituals; but it would appear that they have overlooked the ‘spirit’ and ‘heart’ of religion and godliness. For this reason, they have castigated President Ahmadinejad for this ‘violation of the law’.
What Jesus (peace to him) said to the Pharisees of his day can just as validly be said to these modern ‘Pharisees’: And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. (Matthew 12:7).