The Clash of Ideas
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone." Read more
This is a crucial incident in the life of Jesus. It was already clear that Jesus and the orthodox leaders of the Jews were quite at variance. For Jesus to be back into the synagogue at all was a brave thing to do.
It was the Sabbath day; all work was forbidden and to heal was to work. The Jewish law was definite and detailed about this. Medical attention could be given only if a life was in danger. That is to say, at most, an injury could be kept from getting worse; it must not be made better.
It is extraordinarily difficult for us to grasp this. The best way in which we can see the strict orthodox view of the Sabbath is to remember that a strict Jew would not even defend his own life on the Sabbath.
This passage is fundamental because it shows the clash of two ideas of religion.
(1) to the Pharisee religion was a ritual; it meant obeying certain rules and regulations. Jesus broke these regulations, and they were genuinely convinced that He was a bad man.
(2) To Jesus, religion was service. It was the love of God and the love of men. Ritual was irrelevant compared with love in action. To Jesus, the most important thing in the world was not the correct performance of a ritual, but the spontaneous answer to the cry of human need.
My Life Application
Check whose side are you on. Ask yourself, "Am I more like the Pharisee with ritual or like Jesus with service? Stay with Jesus and go about doing good!
My Prayer and Praise
"Dear Father God, help me to be ready to serve others at all times. Tragedy happens every day in our world. I need Your anointing to be upon me all the time. When someone needs me, I want to be ready to respond to whatever the need is. Amen!"