Dear Student of the Word,
It's time again for a dose of Luke's gospel from a devotional point of view. In this latest installment, we look at Jesus' teaching ministry, which brought Him into conflict with the Pharisees on several occasions. In part three of this seven-part study, Jesus healed on the Sabbath, which caused no small upset among His detractors (you can download the full study below):
Study Twenty-Two, Part Three
14:1 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 dropsy. 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 away. 5 Then he asked them, "If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?" 6 And they had nothing to say.
14:1 – Jesus was under constant scrutiny, but as far as we know, He never altered His behavior to accommodate what those watching expected Him to do. Jesus did not come to please men but to please God. If that meant displeasing men, He would do so without regret or hesitation. I have not been that free from what people thought of me, so often I have been people-conscious and not God-conscious. This Pharisee invited Jesus on the Sabbath deliberately so that they could catch Jesus doing something wrong on the “holy day.”
14:2 – I wonder if they put this sick man in front of Jesus on purpose, knowing that the Lord would have compassion on him. Dropsy is a condition where a body retains and collects water in bodily tissue. The man was probably swollen and his complexion red. In chapter 13, we saw how Jesus healed the woman bent over for 18 years on the Sabbath, and the synagogue ruler was indignant. After that controversy, was Jesus going to back off Sabbath healing, heal in secret or after the dinner, or proceed in the presence of all?
14:3 – First, Jesus tried to use the situation as a teachable moment, as was His custom. He asked the “experts in the Law” whether it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. I doubt if the experts had ever been confronted with that question, because they had no power to heal anyone, only to bind them up in legalism.
14:4 – They remained silent, probably because they had no answer, or not an answer that would have refuted what Jesus was about to do. Since they said nothing so that Jesus could not instruct them, He took the man, healed him, and sent him away so that the man would not have to hear what was to follow.
14:5 – Jesus used a similar example to prove the validity of what He had just done as when He healed the woman who was bent over. This time He not only referred to the condition of an ox, but also of a son fallen into a hole. It would be lawful to pull that son out of a hole, so it followed that it was lawful to “pull” this infirm man out of his condition on the Sabbath by healing him.
14:6 – The Pharisees had nothing to say, but the situation did not change their attitude toward Jesus, as evidenced by their subsequent antagonistic behavior.
Lord, deliver me from any religious attitudes that would cause me to look past the needs of people as I serve you. Help me to change any thinking I have that would prevent me from serving the needs of people. God, I don’t want to oppose you; I want to flow with You. I want to be like Jesus, not affected by what people may think; I only want to be motivated by what You think. Amen.
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the daily devotional entitled The Leadership Walk. Thank you and I hope you continue to enjoy this study of Luke's gospel from God's word.