"You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath ..." (Luke 13:15-16)

"You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?" (Luke 13:15-16)
Jesus, having cured a woman of her infirmity, was responding to a temple official. Here is what Jesus is responding to:
Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, "There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath." (Luke 13:14)

Why did the synagogue leader say this?

What would make the temple official so upset that Jesus healed a woman on the Sabbath?

Envy. Yes, it is envy that lies at the heart of such an offensive statement. Instead of feeling compassion for the woman and elation that God's representative had healed her of her affliction, the temple leader was envious. He was envious because he wanted to be the guy who performed the miracle. The synagogue leader wanted to be the one who was admired. He wanted to be the center of attention, not Jesus.

So instead of being thrilled about Jesus' miracle, he decided to criticize it. He had to find some fault in Jesus' act of mercy. He had to find something to be critical of - so he chose to criticize Jesus' doing this on the Sabbath.

If it wasn't that, he would have found fault otherwise in Jesus' act. This is the characteristic of someone who is envious.

What is envy?

Envy is rooted in the desire to be on top. The desire to be number one. We find this is actually a common characteristic among those of us living in the physical world. We want to be superior. We want to be the master.

This is why we in the material world strive to be champions. We want to be the hero. The gold-medal winner. The Olympic champion. The rock star. The Emmy-award-winning actor or actress. The CEO. The president. Whatever position we may choose to play out our desire to be number one.

Wanting to be number one is rooted in the desire to be the master. And this is ultimately rooted in our underlying rejection of the Supreme Being.

Once we rejected God as our Best Friend and Soulmate, we became envious of Him. This is why we are here in the material world, away from the Supreme Being, occupying these temporary physical bodies.

Is this why we are away from God?

Envy automatically separates us from the Supreme Being. That's because envy and love are like oil and water - they don't mix because they are diametrically opposed to each other.

The Supreme Being - the Source of everything - is full of love. Therefore, someone who becomes envious automatically becomes separated from the Supreme Being.

In love, each person wants to please the other. Each person wants to serve the other. But in envy, a person wants to be better than the other. It is a completely opposite consciousness.

Once we felt like this, we were separated from God. We no longer shared our love with God. We suddenly wanted to be master. We wanted to be the center.

So the Supreme Being - in His ultimate wisdom and compassion - gave us the opportunity to pretend to be the center. He created this physical universe and these physical bodies so that we could be separate from Him and play out our fantasies of being number one. Being the most important person - which of course who God is.

Once we achieved this separation, we created so many different games, events, positions, and criteria so each of us would have an opportunity to claim the position of being number one - in something. This can range from the most difficult of challenges - such as an Olympic athlete or a president - to easier methods such as winning one race or event or getting a blue ribbon at a fair. Or perhaps becoming a supervisor at work. Or perhaps being the big priest or reverend at a church - or the synagogue leader as this man who offended Jesus was.

And even if we don't make it to the top of a particular position or event, we can still imagine ourselves in the number one position as we become a parent or we get a pet, or otherwise. Thus we can become the master of a child or a pet - ordering them around and telling them what to do and so on.

Are these positions real?

If we sit back for a second and think about it, we can realize immediately that our claimed position as number one - in something - is temporary. It is a fantasy.

All of these roles pretending to be the champion were all ultimately designed by the Supreme Being to allow us to play out our fantasies of being number one.

But in order to do this, He had to create a virtual platform - away from our actual spiritual identities. Each of us is a  spiritual being - from the spiritual realm. We are not these temporary physical bodies. Our composition is spiritual and our innate identity is connected to our specific loving relationship with God.

This means in order to play out our fantasies of being number one, He had to create virtual identities for us - within a virtual world. This might be compared to how a person might escape to the virtual world of a video computer game. The game also allows us to take on a virtual identity - an icon or "avatar" - allowing us to immerse within the virtual game environment.

This also takes place when we are dreaming. This is a further virtual environment, allowing us to escape into a fantasy land in order to play out our more ridiculous fantasies.

But the physical world is more 'real' than these two examples. The physical body is real in the sense that it is made of molecules and light, whereas the video game is made of computer graphics and the dreamscape is made of mental images.

But all of these facilities present the same opportunity - all created by the ultimate designer and programmer, the Supreme Being. They each allow us to play out our fantasies of being number one.

But in His wisdom, the Supreme Being also created this physical world with many lessons that go along with the fantasies. These lessons allow for the opportunity for us to be rehabilitated at the same time. The goal, of course, is to allow us the opportunity to return to the spiritual realm and resume our actual identities - our spiritual identities - which are complete with spiritual love and happiness.

How does He impart these lessons?

Just think about it for a second. Just think about all the trials and tribulations that accompany our attempts to achieve a goal of being in some kind of number one position:

Just consider a person who wants to win at an Olympic event. Such a person will have to train for many years prior and undergo painful injuries and/or traumas as they climb to the top. Each of these presents lessons: Lessons that indicate that we actually are not really number one. Lessons that show us that we are each, in fact, inferiors: servants, not masters.

In other words, in order to reach the so-called number one spot, we will have to become a servant. We will have to serve the body through training. Or if we want to be a movie star, we will have to serve the movie directors and executives. Then later we will have to serve our fans by posing and doing other things to remain popular.

And if we want to be a business tycoon - a CEO - we will have to start by serving our bosses and customers, and then later, serving board members and stockholders. And if we want to be president, we will have to start off by serving smaller communities as councilmen or mayor, while serving the interests of those businesspeople who give us campaign money.

Even if we want to be the number one in a family by having children, or even by having a dog or cat - we will still have to serve. In these supposed number one positions we will need to serve the children by feeding them and changing their diapers and then working to bring in their food and education and so on. And if it is a pet, we will need to serve them by feeding them every day for the rest of their lives, along with picking up their poop every day.

Yes - is this not only ironic but poetic justice and hilarious at the same time? That we set out to be superior - number one - and we simply end up in our innate position as servant. We never actually achieve any number one status. We just end up serving people in order to maintain a position we once imagined for ourselves.

Even one of the ultimate 'number one' men of our materialistic society - the founder of the Playboy enterprise - illustrates this. After so many years of pretending to be the 'number one' guy with all his friends surrounding him and supposedly serving him: He actually ended up having to serve the young wives and girlfriends that demanded his time and devotion to them. He found himself serving some of the very same 'friends' he thought he had arranged to serve him. He also ended up serving customers, investors and family members. And near the end of his body's life, he had to serve his body in a struggle to keep it alive  - which ultimately failed.

What is the primary lesson?

The primary lesson in this is obvious: We are not number one. We are not master. We are not the playboy. We are not the top dog. Whether we are wearing the body of a male or female, we will never be in charge. 

Regardless of our attempts to be master, we will each have to become servants and caregivers. Even the most famous rock star or movie star must cater to (serve) their fans.

This illustrates that whether by choice or not, we are caregivers by nature. We are not in charge here or anywhere. We were created to be caregivers.

We see here that Jesus considered himself in this way. With his statement regarding giving water to the ox or donkey - he is indicating service. He is indicating that one must be a servant or caregiver. And this is precisely what he was doing with the woman. He was being of service. He was helping her - which is service.

By his own omission, Jesus clarified his role as servant of the Supreme Being:
"-for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me." (John 5:30)
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me." (John 6:38)
And he wanted those who followed him to also understand their role as servants:
"The greatest among you will be your servant." (Matt. 23:11)