A legalist is someone who insists on keeping
all the rules, but doesn't really like people
very much.

If a teacher is a legalist, s/he will make the
students obey, but never smile at them.  
Sometimes even a church leader gets this

In Jesus' time, there was a large religious
group called Pharisees, and a lot of them
were legalists, so they didn't smile very

One day Jesus healed a man who had been
unable to walk for 38 years.  He healed the
man on the Sabbath Day which is like our

The man who was healed went to the Temple
and told the Pharisees the wonderful thing
that Jesus had done for him.

Instead of being happy for the man and
happy that Jesus could heal people, they
became angry.  They did not like Jesus being
so popular.

People weren't supposed to work on the
Sabbath Day.  The Pharisees foolishly said
Jesus had worked on the Sabbath when he
healed someone.

That was silly.  They were just jealous of
Jesus.  They didn't want people to follow
him and his teachings.  They wanted people
to follow them and their teachings.

Another time Jesus and his Apostles were
out on the road and became hungry.  There
were never any restaurants along roads.  So
the law said people could eat from strangers'
crops as long as they didn't take any with

Jesus and his Apostles went into a field and
ate grain from the stalks.  They had just
enough to fill them up and give them strength
for the day.  This was a Sabbath Day too.

When some legalist Pharisees learned what
happened, they again accused Jesus of
working on the Sabbath.  Of course, picking
up a meal and eating it is not work.

The legalist Pharisees liked to talk about
people's sins more than about love.  Jesus
kept saying God wanted mercy, not constant

At another time a man with a withered hand
went to the synagogue church on the
Sabbath.  Jesus asked the worshippers if it
was right to hurt or help on the Sabbath.  
He reminded them that they helped their
injured animals on the Sabbath.

Then Jesus made the man's withered hand
whole and strong again.  The legalist
Pharisees got mad again.  They preferred to
tell people how bad they were instead of how
much God loves them.

Have you done something bad that you think
God couldn't forgive you of?  God likes to
think about the good you do more than the
bad.  He really does want to forgive you.  
Ask him to, and he will.