Summary: Do I let my desire to be "holy" overshadow the need to help others.
Both the hummingbird and the vulture fly over our nation’s deserts. All vultures see is rotting meat, because that is what they look for. They thrive on that diet. But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh of dead animals. Instead, they look for the colorful blossoms of desert plants. The vultures live on what was. They live on the past. They fill themselves with what is dead and gone. But hummingbirds live on what is. They seek new life. They fill themselves with freshness and life. Each bird finds what it is looking for. We all do. (Steve Goodier, Quote Magazine, in May, 1990 R.D.)
The Pharisees watched Jesus like a cat watches a mouse hole. They stood ready to pounce on Him for every little thing that violated their legalistic beliefs. The Jews permitted healing on the Sabbath Day only if there was danger that the person might die before the next day. Unless this was the case, healing on the Sabbath, to them, was working. Jesus had broken these regulations and they were genuinely convinced that He was a bad man. This is sort of like a person who believes that true Christianity consists of going to church, reading the Bible, saying grace at meals etc., but is deaf to the needs of people. Jesus was grieved because of the hardness of their hearts and angry at the callous, cruel attitude of the Pharisees toward human suffering and need.
To refuse to do good is to choose to do evil (James 4:17). We cannot truly love God unless we hate sin. Instead of rejoicing about the man being healed the Pharisees left the synagogue to hold counsel with the Herodians as to how they might destroy Jesus. These Herodians were supporters of Roman rule. Ordinarily the Pharisees would have nothing to do with them, but now sought their cooperation in order to fulfill their purpose. It’s easy for us as sinners to develop bad attitudes. The Pharisees in this story show us three ways of developing a bad attitude:
1. A critical eye (vv.1-2)
2. A concrete (hardened) heart (vv. 3-5)
3. A conniving mind (v. 6)
What is proper for me to do on the Lord’s Day? Jesus’ answer is clear. Whatever is good and helpful is lawful and whatever harms or hurts is wrong. Sunday should be the happiest day of the week.