Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?”
Starting in Luke 6:6, we find another Sabbath squabble between Jesus and the Pharisees. I call this one “The Case of the Handicapped Man.”
“On another Sabbath He entered the synagogue and was teaching; and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him” (vv. 6-7). The Pharisees were worried that Jesus was going to do something nice for somebody on the Sabbath and heal this man.
Look at how Jesus responded. “He knew what they were thinking, and He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Get up and come forward!’ And he got up and came forward. And Jesus said to them, ‘I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?’” (vv. 8-9). The Old Testament law said you were not supposed to work on the Sabbath; however, if you had a sheep that was lost or was injured, you had the freedom to rescue it. Now if you can rescue and help heal an animal on the Sabbath, then don’t you think you ought to be able to do that for another human being? Why would people care more about animals than they do about human beings, who are created in the image of God?
Yet we see that hypocrisy today. Years ago Al Gore wrote a book entitled, “Earth in the Balance,” in which he bemoaned the plight of the rainforest in South America. He said, “We are silencing the thousands of songs we have never heard.” In other words, because we are burning the rainforest, birds won’t have a place to reside and there are songs that will never be heard. Well, that’s nice, but why aren’t Al Gore and other liberals just as concerned about silencing the songs of aborted babies that will never be heard either? Isn’t that hypocritical to be more concerned about the birds than about human beings made in the image of God? That was a hypocrisy of the Pharisees as well.
Jesus stuck the knife in even deeper when He said, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?” (v. 9). The Pharisees were plotting to kill the Son of God. So Jesus was saying, Who is really doing good and who is really doing evil here? “After looking around at them all, He said to him, ‘Stretch out your hand!’ And he did so; and his hand was restored” (v. 10).
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Squabbling Over the Sabbath” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Albert Gore, “Earth in the Balance” (Emmaus, PA: Rodale, 2006), 23.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.