Scripture: In order to find out what to accuse Jesus of, the scribes and Pharisees watched him closely to see if he healed on the Sabbath. Luke 6:7
Good morning, happy Monday, and many blessings my dear family.
The Gospel today (Luke 6:6-11) should be seen in the context of the last sentence of Saturday’s gospel, ‘The Son of Man’ is master of the Sabbath.
Today we have the story of how Jesus has his priorities right. He wonderfully restored a withered hand to normality. The scribes and Pharisees are caught up with protocol and structures of the Law and miss the point completely of the need of someone who is handicapped.
Understandably the pharisees were furious at the miracle which, on one level was a humanitarian gesture, ‘is it against the law on the Sabbath…to save life or destroy it? On another level, as the pharisees saw clearly, it implied a claim to be equal to God. Hence, they began ‘to discuss how to deal with him’ or, as Mark (3:6) has it they ‘plotted to destroy him’. Sense the fury of the pharisees, sense also the likely divisions among them, look upon them through their reactions.
We are shocked by the reaction of the scribes and Pharisees to Jesus, both before and after the cure of the man with the withered hand. But I am also aware of the danger of closing my own heart to the suffering of others and even to the presence of God in Jesus for similar reasons. I look at Jesus and ask to have his compassionate heart, so sensitive and free when faced by human suffering.
The authorities were furious at the man's cure, and immediately started to discuss how they could stop Jesus. I pray for for all religious leaders that they may always know how to respond in an evangelical way to whatever is new and may appear shocking.
The Pharisees had no care for the man with the withered hand, whereas for Jesus he was the most important person in the synagogue right then. Anyone in need is the focus of divine concern. Would I have cared about him if I had been there that day?
God is a God who is attracted to people in their need. He focuses on my needs too, and invites me to in turn to give space in my heart to the needs of others. By doing this I become a true disciple.
Jesus rebukes the scribes and the Pharisees for their narrow-mindedness and conviction to the rule of the Law. Their practice of religion lacked compassion and love, key principles of the Gospel message.
The Pharisees are ‘filled with fury’ because with Jesus the rule of love is taking over from the rule of law, and so their control of people is being challenged. Today I ask God that love may win out in the choices that I make. Do you want to pray for the same?