We’re continuing through Luke’s Gospel. In today’s post, we’ll start chapter 14. Jesus has been invited to a dinner on the Sabbath day.
One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched.
Luke 14:1 NIV
The Lord had probably spoken at a local synagogue. After the meeting, he was invited to the home of the high-ranking Pharisee of the town. You would think that this was a nice gesture of hospitality. But you’d be wrong.
The Scripture makes it clear that those who attended – a group of religious leaders – were not there to socialize. The phrase, carefully watched, is a term that means to scrutinize. It’s like when you don’t trust someone and you tell them, “I’ll be watching you.”
The one thing about Jesus is that He doesn’t disappoint.
There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away.
Luke 14:2-4 NIV
Knowing how they felt about healing on the Sabbath, Jesus sets up a little demonstration. It was time to challenge their small-minded view of God. They thought they could keep God in a little box made up of their ritualistic, religious rules.
There in front of Christ is a man with dropsy. We don’t use that word anymore. We call it edema or swelling of the joints. He probably had a heart condition that would eventually kill him.
The real question is; why was he there? I believe he was brought there by the Pharisees and lawyers for the purpose of setting Jesus up. They wanted a reason to accuse the Lord.
Then it happened. Jesus started by asking them a question. He wants their legal opinion. Is it lawful or right to heal on the Sabbath day.
There’s no mention of healing on the Sabbath in the Law of Moses. However, down through the years, famous Rabbis have penned a tradition of man-made laws surrounding the Sabbath. According to these rules, healing was forbidden.
These rules were very strict. As a matter of fact, you couldn’t drink wine on the Sabbath if you had a toothache. Because, if the alcohol numbed the pain, you were breaking the Sabbath by healing.
Jesus blatantly broke their rules right in front of them. He healed the man immediately. At least in my eyes, that proves to me that these rules were not of God. If they were, God would have never healed this man.
Look at how Jesus explains this principle to the Pharisees.
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?” And they had nothing to say.
Luke 14:5-6 NIV
Here Jesus shows them a truth. Sickness is like falling into a pit. It’s never a good thing. The goal is always to set them free.
The question is; when? The answer should be obvious – immediately! It’s religion that makes things complicated.
“Sorry! You have to stay in the pit until tomorrow. Today is the Sabbath.”
It doesn’t take a high intelligence to see the foolishness of that statement. They need to be rescued right now. That’s why none of these religious leaders had a comeback. They couldn’t refute the truth.
That’s God’s view of healing. We make the rules and the excuses. It’s time for God’s people seek His presence. The church needs to rise to the full maturity of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13).
I believe that this is where God is trying to lead His church in our generation.
Question: How strongly do you desire to see God’s power manifest in the church?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi