Luke 6 v 9. “Then Jesus said to them, ‘I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath; to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?’”
This is the second instance where the practise of those days perverted a law that was intended for good. This time it did not involve the relief of hunger but the relief of physical suffering. Jesus called the man with the shrivelled hand to step forward. He could see his poor shrivelled hand which could never be used in God’s service or for men’s good. Jesus is not moved merely by compassion, or though he is never without compassion. Nor at this time did he appeal to his rights as the Son of Man over the Sabbath. He appealed to basic, common, easy to understand ordinary MORALITY or common sense. “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath, or to do evil”. The answer is self-evident. You didn’t have to have a degree in philosophy to understand it. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were inwardly bound tight with the hardness of legalism. They had forgotten that God’s laws were merciful and compassionate and designed for blessing. They had perverted God’s laws to mean the exact opposite for which they were intended.
How strange the human heart is. Often people would prefer to see life destroyed rather than saved. We see this in the mindless bombings of civilians in the wars of our day. We see it also quite often in sad social scenarios such as a person standing on a ledge threatening to commit suicide. A crowd gathers and what do they shout? Stop! Stop! No, they don’t. They yell, Jump! Jump!. That is how hard human hearts become. In this case, rather let the man remain crippled than break the law and heal him!
But not Jesus. He heals the man on the basis that no law of God was given to contradict self-evident morality. In other words: Use your common sense. And it’s a lesson we all need to learn. But even common sense is sometimes hard to come by because often our consciences are not informed by God’s true word, rather by perversions of it.
Notice that after the healing the crowd is filled with fury (v 11). There is an ingrained and mad hatred against the Christ of God in the fallen human heart. We must not be surprised when we encounter it. But we should always remember that no matter the opposition, God’s Kingdom will spread and we are on the winning side.