9 Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. 10 And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him.
11 Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other.
Let’s take a look at those who are trying to catch us in some assumed inconsistency. Maybe at an office party you break into a silly dance move and someone yells out, “Hey, I thought Christians didn’t dance!” Or maybe everyone is in the car and you are driving over the speed limit but with traffic and someone says, “Hey, your speeding; I thought Christians kept the law.” Have these things happened to you? They happened to Jesus too.
In today’s passage we find a man who needed Christ’s attention. He had a withered hand. This would have been a birth defect that would keep this man from being able to work, and would have kept him poor. This man had a legitimate need. The Pharisees, ever seeking to accuse Jesus of something, pointed the man out to Jesus on the Sabbath when no work was to be done. Asking Jesus if he would heal the man or not, the Pharisees thought they had something to question the validity of Jesus commitment to the Law. (Like I said, there are those around us waiting to see if we fail in their eyes so they can feel better about themselves.)
Jesus, before healing the man, asked the Pharisees if they would get their animal out of a pit on the Sabbath. Well, this was one specific loophole in the Sabbath law for if your animal was stuck it was merciful to the animal to get it unstuck and back in the barn even on the Sabbath. So Jesus was asking them if they showed mercy to their animals on the Sabbath. He knew they did so then he healed the man’s withered hand showing mercy to a person who was of more value than the Pharisees’ animal.
When the world tries to trip you up, show them the logic of their accusation. I was once asked if I danced. I answered, “Yes, I dance with my wife but I wouldn’t dance with your wife.” They laughed and got my point. We can do good to all people, keep God’s laws, and be a testimony of His grace and mercy wherever we go. Did Jesus break the Sabbath? I suppose so but He did it to show mercy which was an acceptable reason to break the Sabbath. The man whose hand was healed was glad for the mercy of the Savior. Whenever you show mercy to another human being, whether it appears right to those around you or not, the one you show mercy to will be forever grateful.
Tonight is our regular time of Bible study and prayer. Our church is in need of the Lord’s guidance, come join us in prayer for God’s clear direction. Kids4Truth and Youth group will also be meeting at 7:00.
The devotionals are now available on your phones and tablets through the church app. In the app store look up “grace for life Naperville.”
Have a great day in the Lord,