Focal Passage: Deuteronomy 5:17; 19:7-13; 24:6-7; Matthew 5:17-20
This week’s lesson focuses on the value of human life, in honor of Sanctity of Human Life Day. There is no doubt we need such an ongoing emphasis. Just this morning the local news reported two stories about men being tried for murder. One was an appeal of a murder case where the man allegedly killed his wife, while the other involved the senseless kidnapping and killing of a promising young college student whose life was taken – all for a small amount of money. These stories appear almost daily, indicating a clear disregard for the value of human life. But these stories are only a small part of a bigger picture.
According to the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), over 50 million abortions have been performed in the United States since 1973. While the number of annual abortions has slightly decreased over the past decade, the number still stands at about 1.2 million per year. “Abortion rights” continues to be a hotly debated topic with every passing election. Less visible issues such as euthanasia, elder abuse and human trafficking also serve to illustrate both the depth and breadth of the sanctity of life issue.
The focal passages today remind us the root of the sanctity of life issue is not sociological, but theological. God’s command not to murder was not simply to help people get along more peaceably. David Jones, a professor at Southeastern Seminary, points out that God’s negative command “Do not murder” reflects a larger, positive theme – value and protect human life. Why should Christians be committed to this?
Because every human life is created by God, in God’s image, and is therefore valuable. God demonstrated His commitment to protecting human life both through forbidding murder (the intentional taking of human life) and through providing cities of refuge for the innocent. Christians today must show we value and protect human life. As Solomon admonishes, we must “rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter” (Proverbs 24:11).