Another Sabbath Healing (Luke 6:6-11)

Another Sabbath Healing (Luke 6:6-11)


Sabbath conflict is practically non-existent today:

Ryle We must take heed that we do not abuse the liberty which Christ has given us. It is in this direction that our danger chiefly lies in modern times. There is little risk of our committing the error of the Pharisees, and keeping the Sabbath more strictly than God intended.

Our Lord’s perfect observance of the Sabbath involved mercy.

Read Luke 6:6-11

Jesus’s opponents intensified their efforts. Previously, they noticed Jesus and his disciples plucking grain on the Sabbath. Here, they deliberately came to the synagogue in order to find wrongdoing.

Seeking to Accuse Instead of Approve (6-7)

Opponents continued to spy on Jesus seeking to accuse him. They spent their time in the synagogue “watching” rather than “hearing” Jesus. It seems they have given up trying to trap him in his words. It’s even possible they planted the sick man.

Have you ever gone to church with impure motives? Maybe that’s hard for you to imagine how anyone so religious could have their motives so thoroughly mixed up. As a child my dad would reward church attendance with a toy. As an adult I’d often attend in order to critique.

What’s remarkable is not that the Pharisees could be so mixed up, but that Jesus continued to endure their criticism. Much of the conflict Jesus faced occurred as he honored the Sabbath day (worship, works of necessity/mercy). His opponents were relentlessly present. But Jesus never backed down.

Undeterred, Jesus…

Choosing to Heal Instead of Kneel (8-10)

Jesus knew their thoughts, but still chose to heal the man. Before he did so, he posed a question to his opponents. The answer is obvious, but the Pharisees are so focused on trapping Jesus that they’re unwilling to admit their error.

RSB Because His critics are watching for an excuse to accuse Him, Jesus (who “knew their thoughts”) turns the healing of the man’s withered hand into a public confrontation and rebuke of their calloused hearts.

Once again Jesus proves his authority over sickness and his unwillingness to cower before his accusers.

Works of mercy are not only permissible on the Sabbath, but they promote its purpose. They’re good. The implication is that it would’ve been evil if he didn’t heal the man. If you aren’t doing good, you are doing evil. The accusers became the accused.

Which is why Jesus enraged them…

Filled With Rage Instead of Joy (11)

Once again the Pharisees capitalize on an opportunity to show their true colors. An occasion that should’ve left everyone speechless with awe and joy, filled them with fury.

Could you imagine witnessing this eye-popping healing and then turning to Jesus in disgust?

The Lord has set apart one day in seven in which we gather together to rest from our worldly labors in order to worship and show love and mercy to others. That is how Scripture characterizes the Sabbath. It is to be a day of delight and joy and comfort.

Yet, how often do we fail to delight in the person and work of God because of selfish ambition?

Many have replaced worship with entertainment. Others have replaced acts of mercy and kindness with bitterness and gossip.

All of us should consider what motivates us to gather for worship.



Our Lord’s perfect observance of the Sabbath involved mercy.

  1. Seeking to Accuse Instead of Approve (6-7)
  2. Choosing to Heal Instead of Kneel (8-10)
  3. Filled With Rage Instead of Joy (11)

What Jesus meant for good, his opponents regarded as evil (Isa. 5:20). The scribes and Pharisees are a picture of rebellion, though they remained steadfastly religious.

On the other hand, Jesus Christ is a picture of compassion and mercy, which testifies of the only kind of religion that is pure and undefiled (James 1:26-27).

Let us delight to respond with more love to our merciful Lord.