March 29

Text: Matthew 12:9, 10

And departing from there, He went into their synagogue.  And behold, there was a man with a withered hand. And they questioned Him, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" --in order that they might accuse Him. (NASB)

There are three things to note.  First, again, the core objection is centered in appropriate Sabbath conduct.  Should a withered hand be healed on the Sabbath?  Second, consider the environment.  Those who opposed Jesus were part of the synagogue assembly.  Third, consider the motive.  The question was not asked to produce understanding or insight, but to find a foundation for accusing Jesus.

Observation # 1: This is not an objection to doing miracles.  The ancient nation of Israel had a rich “miracle history” that honored miraculous acts.  This was not an argument that regarded miracles to be acts of evil.  Miracles were good things.  “God is at work” was a respected answer.  The issue: Can a miracle be performed on the Sabbath?

Observation # 2: Why was when a miracle was performed an issue?  They said a miraculous act was an act of work.  An act of work violated the Sabbath.  If the person’s life was not in jeopardy, then perform the miracle the next day.

Observation # 3: This event occurred in a highly religious place and atmosphere.  People who were supposed to know God said Jesus could not help the man “today.”  They were unconcerned about the man.  They were concerned about their regulations.  This assembly which was dedicated to the study of scripture and to prayer to God was resisting doing good!

Observation # 4: Their motive for asking had nothing to do with understanding God’s will.  It had to do with opposing Jesus.  Thus we have the curious situation of people devoted to God opposing God’s son.

The basic problem was this: they did not understand the divine purpose of the Sabbath.  The Sabbath showed dependence on the Creator God.  It did not exist to oppose doing good to people.

Suggestion for reflection: How do we hide God’s concerns?  (Read Isaiah 5:18-23.)

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