John T. Willis

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Religious Leaders Criticize Jesus about the Sabbath--Luke 6:1-11

Times and people never change. Unfortunately, many people are born in the negative case and in the contrary mode. Their food is opposition, criticism, and fault finding. The religious leaders in the time of Jesus looked at life in this way. Thus, it is not surprising that they constantly CRITICIZED the divine Son of God. Good Christians will always encounter criticism. Be encouraged by that, because Jesus regularly was on the receiving end of criticism. Two occasions on which the religious leaders criticized Jesus are when Jesus' disciples were plucking grain on the Sabbath and when Jesus healed the man with a withered hand related in Luke
6:1-11. This section of scripture falls into two parts.

I. Jesus exposes some Pharisees who rebuked Jesus for allowing his disciples to eat grain on the Sabbath. Luke 6:1-5.
a. On some unnamed Sabbath day [Luke does not state the date], Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples plucked some of the heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them. The Law of Moses in Deuteronomy 23:25 states that a person may pluck ears of grain from a neighbor's field if he or she does not use a sickle. People rubbed the ears of grain in their hands to separate the kernels from the chaff. 6:1.
b. Obviously, the Pharisees were watching everything that Jesus did or say to try to catch him committing a sin. They were following Jesus and his disciples as they walked through the grainfields, and they saw some of the disciples plucking and eating the grain on the Sabbath. They declared this is unlawful. They were really stretching this violation, possibly thinking of Exodus 34:21. This is a real stretch indeed. 6:2.
c. Jesus countered reminding these Pharisees about a well-known biblical text in
1 Samuel 21:1-9. When David was fleeing from Saul, he came to Nob and asked the priest Ahimelech to give him some bread for himself and his companions because they were very hungry. Ahimelech had only the Bread of the Presence, and so gave David and his companions five loaves of the Bread of the Presence, which ordinarily ONLY priests could eat. See Exodus 25:30; 35:13; 39:36; 40:23; Leviticus 24:5-9. People are much more important than rules in the eyes of God. 6:3-4.
d. In addition to scripture, Jesus says: "The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath." As Son of Man, Jesus has authority to do whatever he wishes. 6:5.

II. Jesus restores the right hand that is withered. Luke 6:6-11.
a. On another unnamed sabbath [again, Luke does not give the date], Jesus entered into the synagogue [Luke does not name the place] and taught, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. This is very significant because this man was undoubtedly right-handed and this prevented him from working. 6:6.
b. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Jesus like a hawk to see whether Jesus would heal someone on the Sabbath so they could make an accusation against Jesus. Are people too lazy and have nothing other to do than to watch other people to find a way to criticize other people? How unChristian and how wicked and how ungodly are people who live their lives in this way!!! 6:7.
c. Jesus, as divine, as Son of Man, Jesus already KNEW what these critics were THINKING. But he approached this situation by going to the man with the right withered hand, asking him stand up, and he did. 6:8.
d. Then Jesus turned to the scribes and Pharisees and said: "I ask YOU [thus condemning his opponents], is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?" THEY were condemning Jesus for healing a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, and in this process THEY were DOING HARM and seeking to DESTROY Jesus on the Sabbath. 6:9.
e. They did not respond. Jesus looked around at all of them. Then he told the man to stretch out his hand. He obeyed Jesus, and Jesus restored his hand to full health. What a miracle!!! 6:10.
f. The scribes and Pharisees were filled with fury. They discussed with each other what they might do to Jesus. Remember, they were making these plans on the Sabbath. Is that good or evil? 6:11.

If we but open our eyes, we might change our hearts and quit criticizing others. We can also learn that there are people on earth who are on the search to find faults with other people. Do not be surprised at such people.

Share YOUR experiences with other. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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