Healing on the Sabbath

Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.

Mark 3:4

My route to work takes me along several small country lanes.  At one point, there is a very difficult crossroads; all the roads passing through it are very busy, and often it can take a while to cross.  Tempers can get a little frayed sometimes, as people are generally in a rush to get to work.  One day last week, I encountered a large, black BMW.  The driver was getting extremely angry, and sounded his horn whenever anyone in front of him let a car through the crossroads.  I then followed him down the road leading to my school, and he drove practically fixed to the bumper of the car in front, desperately looking for an opportunity to overtake.

Also last week, I was driving down a fairly busy road, and a large white van was driving, some would say fairly recklessly.  As it approached, however, rather than getting angry, people pulled over and let it pass.  Why?  Because it was an ambulance.  Both vehicles, the black BMW and the ambulance were driving over the speed limit, and yet one was considered to be permissible.

In our current Mark Marathon passage, Jesus once again gets in trouble with the Pharisees, this time for healing a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, which the Pharisees considered to be work.  Jesus, however, rebukes them.  He is doing good on the Sabbath, yet they are complaining that he is breaking the law.  He questions whether it would be better as far as Jewish law was concerned for someone to harm another person.  Jesus has the ability to heal this man.  If he does not, because he observes the Sabbath in the way the Pharisees expect him to, he would effectively harm the man, since he would be destined to live for the rest of his days with his withered hand.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 5 that he has not come to abolish the law, but to fulfil it.  He is the reason for the law.  He shows us here that our priority should be to display the love of God to all those around us.  He shows his love to this man by healing him, even if in the eyes of the Pharisees he is a law breaker.

Let us try and display the love of Christ to all those we meet today.

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