Walking in Truth Devotional Update
Jesus Dines With a Pharisee
“Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely. 2 And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. 3 And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” 4 But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him and let him go. 5 Then He answered them, saying, “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” 6 And they could not answer Him regarding these things.”
This is not the first time in Luke that Jesus prompted questions about Sabbath observance by healing someone on the Sabbath (see 6:6–11; 13:10–17). Nor is it the first time that he had dined with Pharisees (see 7:36–50; 11:37–41).
On this Sabbath, Jesus heals a man with dropsy, and Luke narrates this event quickly, without any conversation between Jesus and the man himself. The focus is completely on the question that hangs in the air between Jesus and His Pharisee companions: “Is it lawful to cure people on the Sabbath, or not?”
Jesus healed a man with dropsy, symptoms are swollen limbs and tissue resulting from excess body fluids. None of these conditions is fatal; none of them would be perceived as an emergency. These people could have waited another day. Yet, Jesus acts immediately. Jesus acted for the good of the sick person, putting compassion ahead of their regulations. The Pharisees had allowed their regulations and propriety to take over. They would go to endless trouble to formulate and to obey their petty rules and regulations; and yet they counted it a sin to ease a sufferer’s pain on the Sabbath day. Jesus showed them that they had lost sight of the dignity of the people they claimed to lead. Jesus has demonstrated great respect for the spirit of the Sabbath, and perhaps was demonstrating an appreciation consistent with His practice
But religious leaders believed Jesus to be a lawbreaker and therefore dangerous and even irreligious. After Jesus asked them ““Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath” they kept silent. Jesus then asked another question: “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” And they could not answer Him regarding these things because they would have pulled the animal out of the pit. Do you remember the question Jesus when He healed the woman on the Sabbath in Luke 13:16? “Ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him” (Luke 13:17). The silence of the Pharisees reflects their inability to accomplish the goal of catching Jesus in an unlawful act.
Perhaps this little story has a real purpose for you and me. Just maybe we too should examine why we do what we do. Maybe there are some traditions we have learned in the past that govern how we treat one another. Could it be that we have some man-made ideas and views that just don’t jive with the spirit of Christianity? If so, don’t you think we should rid ourselves of them and seek to be governed by the same mercy that characterized our Lord?
By Guy Roberson
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