Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely.  And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy.  And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

 But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go.   Then He answered them, saying, “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?”   And they could not answer Him regarding these things (Luke 14:1-6).

One thing about Jesus is that He cannot see someone in need and not do something about it.  On this particular Sabbath He went to break bread with one of the rulers of the Pharisees and his guests.  There was a man with dropsy.  Dropsy is an old term used for the swelling of soft tissues due to the accumulation of excess water.  It can occur anywhere on the body.  We don’t know which part of the man’s body was affected but it would have been visible to Jesus.  We don’t know if this man knew that Jesus was going to be there or if he happened to be there when Jesus came.  He was in the right place at the right time.

When Jesus asked, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” this was in response to the lawyers and Pharisees because they were watching Him closely.  They were watching to see what He would do.  It was the Sabbath and they considered healing on the Sabbath to be in violation of the Law.  This is why Jesus asked them that question but they kept quiet. 

In answer to His own question, Jesus took the man, healed him and let him go.  The word used for “let him go” is apolyō which meansto set free, release”.  Jesus freed, released this man from his infirmity.  There is no mention that this man rejoiced or praised God.  No doubt, though, he may have glorified Him as he went on his way.  This begs the question as to why those who witnessed this healing would have a problem with it.

After the man left, Jesus turned His attention to those in the room.  He asked another direct question which they could not answer.  If any of them had an animal that fell into a pit on the Sabbath day, they would not have thought twice about pulling it out.  Why then did they have a problem with Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath?  If one of them or someone in their family were to fall ill on the Sabbath, would they refuse to be healed?

Granted, the Sabbath is a day of rest but from secular work.  It is not a day of resting from doing good—from community service.  Jesus was always doing the work of the Father, especially on the Sabbath.  It was a day of healing the sick, lame, and blind, delivering the demon possessed and feeding the hungry.  It was a day of ministering to the needs of the community.  It was meant to be a day of delight, restoration, healing and hope, not a burden.  Jesus said that He is the Lord of the Sabbath and who better than He knew how to keep it?  He was showing the religious leaders that at the heart of the Law which they accused Him of breaking were love and mercy.  The Sabbath was about doing good not man made rules that weighed down the people.  It wasn’t a day of dos and don’ts.  It was created for us and not the other way around. 

That Sabbath day was a delight for the man with dropsy.  He went home a new person—healed and restored.  The Lord’s work is always been done.  Jesus didn’t take a break because it was the Sabbath.  In fact, he was always healing people on the Sabbath.  It is an opportunity for us to show love and compassion to those in need and to reveal to them the Lord who set aside a day of rest for all of us to enjoy.  The Sabbath is not a day of resting from doing what is lawful and good, it is a day that is meant to be a blessing for everyone.

Published by A. Maria Butler