Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 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. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.
As Jesus entered the synagogue to teach the word of God, he found a man with a crippled hand. Jesus also knew by healing him it would cause controversy. In line with their overall quest to discredit Jesus, the Pharisees wanted to see if Jesus would break the law so that they can accuse him. Thus, knowing they were looking closely to accuse him Jesus turned the tables on them, by asking them a question (to highlight the irony and their hardened hearts). The mere fact that they couldn’t answer the question shows the reader, the Pharisees clearly understood the paradox of the incident and that it revealed them as ‘hard-nosed religious people’ as theologian Eugene Peterson states. They think the law is more important than the soul. They don’t feel sorry or remorse for the people who are suffering.
Our God is not a heartless God, but a good and loving God. Therefore, those who believe in God should be careful of falling in the same trap as the Pharisees by making Christianity a religious checklist. Don’t forget the person who is suffering. Note Jesus got angry with the Pharisees. Don’t let our hearts be hardened by the very thing that should bring freedom (Woowon- Korean Community Group leader).
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What does this passage tell you about humanity?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
- Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. Be still and allow the presence of Jesus to bring you rest right now.