Our scripture this morning is ‭‭Luke‬ ‭6‬:‭6‬-‭11‬.

On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching. The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” So the man came forward. Then Jesus said to his critics, “I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him.

The religious leaders of that time had interpreted scripture into strict rules regarding what was allowed on the Sabbath. The commandment to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy was amplified in Exodus 20 to remind them to “do no work”, but the Pharisees had taken that to the extreme. Virtually any activity could be rationalized as work under this system.

Jesus had a way of teaching that makes us think, and it seems the religious leaders were afraid that people thinking for themselves might threaten their power and positions. He asks them quite pointedly “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil?” (v. 9). They have no answer for this and then Jesus performs a miraculous healing.

Luke records that the religious leaders “were wild with rage”, a response that should make us all pause. Why would people be upset that something wonderful had happened? Because it diverted attention from them and added to the credibility of Jesus. We must take care not to react as the Pharisees do and denigrate the good deeds of others simply because we disagree with them. Yes, there are those who sometimes do good with an ulterior motive, but God will judge them for that. We must continue our good works as God has gifted us and given us opportunities.

Heavenly Father, help us to remember the Sabbath but also to understand that loving and helping one another, no matter when, is the greatest commandment You have given us. Bless us to go in Your name to bless others. Amen.

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