”One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way. 5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child[a] or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?”6 And they had nothing to say.” Luke 14.1-6
If Jesus were accused of a crime in first century Jerusalem, he would certainly have a police rap sheet. The charges would be 1) healing on the Sabbath (multiple times), 2) making himself one with God, 3) talking about destroying the “temple,” 4) and encouraging people to break the Law of Moses. He was accused of all of these things and was subsequently crucified for them.
However, in the case of healing on the Sabbath, as we read here in Luke 14 and previously in Luke 13, Jesus is a repeat offender because he committed this particular “crime” more than once. Not only does he heal again on the Sabbath, but he uses the same argument against the teachers of the law who are silently staring daggers at Jesus.
During the first offense they verbally confront Jesus saying, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” (Luke 13.14). But the second time, they remain silent. Jesus turned to them and again, using the same argument says — “If one of you has a child or ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” It’s a great comeback! Why not use it twice?
Jesus wasn’t just passing by the Pharisees, he was eating at the house of a very important one. And in front of him, a man who had “abnormal swelling of his body.” Jesus sees the guy, has compassion, and heals him. And once he does this, the Pharisees had nothing to say.
The true crime wasn’t that Jesus broke the Sabbath law in doing “work,” it was that God’s people ignored to see, identify and praise the works of the Lord in their midst. They were so consumed with being right, abiding by rules and regulations, feeling the power of controlling the people with their will (sound familiar?) that they failed to see God in their midst.
I mean, come on, God was at their table. He was present before them and they could only keep silent in disagreement and disappointment to the works of Jesus. They didn’t celebrate the healed man, they didn’t acknowledge the miracle, they sat silent showing their displeasure and disdain for this prophet/preacher who would dare heal on God’s holy day.
I wonder how often God is working in our lives and we ignore it? I wonder how often God is a repeat offender of forgiving our sin over and over again? I wonder how we would respond had we been in the shoes of the Pharisees and Jesus had come to dinner that day at our house? Would we recognize the Messiah? Would our hearts be strangely warmed? Would we find solace in the Spirit and grace in his hands?
Jesus is on the move. He’s guiding, leading and loving his people each and every day. Let’s celebrate his activity. Let’s praise his name. Let’s be consumed with a loving God who died upon the Cross for our sins and then rose again so that we might have life today and life to come.
”O Lord God, you are good. Come now and heal our land. Help us identify your work all around us. The K