Luke 14 v 3. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?”
Previously in Chapter 13 verses 25 – 28 we had a picture of people knocking on the door of Heaven wanting to get in after the door was closed. When they were refused they said: “We ate and drank with you and you taught in our streets.” Now Luke relates an incident which shows what “eating and drinking in the presence of Christ” meant for the likes of these Pharisees when Jesus was on earth.
One day a “prominent” Pharisee, a leader amongst them, invited Christ right into his home for a meal. The thing we should note is that in spite of the opposition of the Pharisees to Jesus, he nevertheless accepted the invitation. This is a great reminder that the grace of forgiveness and the privilege of opportunity extends to all – not only the poor and downtrodden, but also the rich and the arrogant.
And there, in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy (v2) Dropsy is not a disease in and of itself, but a symptom. It means to be “full of water” and is probably a sign of a disease of the heart, kidneys or liver. A man afflicted in this way would be considered afflicted by God for great sinfulness, by the Pharisees. So what was he doing in the Pharisees house?
Most likely he had been planted there to bait Jesus into another healing on the Sabbath day. This would serve to confirm to his enemies that Jesus himself was a Sabbath-breaker, a sinner, and therefore no prophet or Messiah. In verse 1 we read that Jesus was being “carefully watched”. Notice the sequence of events.
He asked if it was lawful (morally right) to heal on the Sabbath (v 3)
They remained silent (v 4 )
Jesus healed the man and sent him away – probably because he knew the man should not have been there in the first place (v 4)
Jesus asked them another question ( v 5 )
They had nothing to say (v 6 )
But this silence did not mean repentance. They were merely momentarily refuted. But they did not agree with Jesus.
Just how serious their disagreement with Jesus was, we will see tomorrow.