Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good ...

On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

A pattern of accusation and judgment is developing in these passages of the gospel. I wonder if Luke, as he pens the stories, is seeing a theme unfold. Each time Jesus comes into contact with the scribes and the Pharisees he had to feel like a person who was constantly under the scrutiny of those in authority. These who were charged with the spiritual care of the masses constantly sought to judge a man who only did good.

I love the courage of Christ as he calls out the hypocrisy of the religious leaders. These who should have been encouraging this hurting man would not lift a finger to ease his pain. Jesus would have none of it! In a display of compassion and power the Great Physician speaks to the hurting man and his glory is on display for all to see. The man, and all around him, rejoiced at the miracle. Yet fury filled the Pharisees. What a sad commentary.

Lord, help me to rejoice when you act in a way that is not consistent with my traditions.

1 comment:

  1. I think one of the implications here is the danger of seeing technicalities over people. While there are principles we need to stand up for, we need to see helping people as our goal, rather then just maintaining issues without consideration of who it hurts.


I love to get comments and usually respond. So come back to see my reply.
You can click here to see my comment policy.