Luke 14 v 4. “But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away.”
The silence of the Pharisees to the questions Jesus put to them indicated a serious hardening of their hearts. The whole incident of the man with dropsy had been arranged to demonstrate how wrong Jesus was. Instead it showed how wrong they were.
Remember Jewish people of this sort believed that one day there would be a great Messianic banquet, a way of speaking about being in God’s presence. They themselves expected to be there. None of them expected Jesus to be there even though we know he will be the “Master of the House”. They, however did not know that.
So here were these men with their hypocritical legalism and hostile hearts attempting the futile task of trapping the Son of God in the act of committing a sin. But another side of their sinful rejection of Jesus was the display of their callousness to the man with dropsy. Their attitude both to God and to the need of the poor man for healing or “salvation” from his condition was utterly wrong.
The Pharisees believed that God should be honoured. But the way of honouring him was NOT TO WORK on the Sabbath. They took the Sabbath Law farther than it was ever intended to go by declaring that human needs could not be met on the Sabbath because it constituted work. Therefore no matter how great the man’s need was, it could not be met on the Sabbath.
I wonder if you can put your mind into their minds and ask how in the wide world a conclusion like that could be arrived at by thinking people. But it is no different today. In our time it may not be the Sabbath that is an issue, but many other things are! There is for instance, the question of human sexuality and what constitutes marriage. There are the questions of abortion and euthanasia, the easy attitude to morals, marriage, and divorce. There are many things that are wrong simply on the basis of common sense. But the human mind and thinking patterns are dominated by our exceptionally wicked and deceived hearts. We are able by using clever words to justify almost anything. And in the case of these Pharisees their hypocrisy took the guise of great devotion and holiness.
How did Christ handle these people? We will see tomorrow.