Summary: Healing, miracle
MORE VALUABLE THAN AN OX (LUKE 14:1-6)
After I finished my book on People Jesus Met for the people Jesus healed last month, I was literally soaking my feet one day in hot water with herbs, salt and vinegar when I checked the KJV word “dropsy” on the Internet. I had purposefully left out the miracle from the book because the sick person had just a small part in the account. The internet says:
Dropsy: An old term for the swelling of soft tissues due to the accumulation of excess water.
Edema/Dropsy: Edema means swelling caused by fluid in your body's tissues. It usually occurs in the feet, ankles and legs, but it can involve your entire body. I said to myself, “That’s me!”
I had a stroke less than one week before my 58th birthday, for which I was hospitalized and given medication to lower my blood pressure. One of the drugs, unfortunately, caused unbearable swelling for two years, to the point I could not wear shoes and walk normally. A young man who lived with me for three months looked up the problem on the web and told me it’s the drugs that caused my swelling, so I reduced one of the two drugs by half and arrested the problem, to the horror of my friends in the medical field.
What made this man so unappealing to me previously? Out of six verses in the passage, the man appeared in two verses of the chapter (vv 2, 4), the Pharisees in five verses and Jesus in all six verses. The man never said a word, nor did Jesus talk to him. He did not make a move, not did Jesus require him to act. His faith was not evident. Apparently Jesus never mentioned the man in the two questions he asked!
What makes a person worthy of Jesus’ attention and action? Why is a person’s life of more value than that of an ox or a bird? How are we to respond to a person who is sick or suffering?
Sympathize Rather Than Speculate
1 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body.
On the Internet is a cute and lovable image of Snoopy stretching his hands for a hug under the title: “The Perfect Friend,” with arrows pointing to his different body parts.
Pointing to his eyes: Happy to see you
Pointing to his mouth: Love to see a smile
Hands: Good for holding and helping
Tummy: A warm spot here for you
Feet: For standing by your side
Shoulder: Available to lean on
Ears: ready to listen on a moment’s notice
Mind: Full of great advice!
This is the last of three contentious incidents Jesus had with religious leaders in the book of Luke over healing on the Sabbath (Luke 6:1, 7, 13:10, 14:1). The first was with the scribes and Pharisees (Luke 6:7) who watched to see if he would heal the man with withered hand. The second was with ruler of the synagogue who was indignant when Jesus healed a woman who was sick for 18 years (Luke 13:10-14). The last is the man with the swollen body here in this chapter. The book of John added the contention with the Pharisees over the man born blind (John 9:16). (Jesus healed two more times on the Sabbath without religious leaders present - Mark 1:21-26, John 5:9)
The three response of the lawyers and Pharisees in this chapter were: they watched him (Luke 14:1), they remained silent/held their peace (Luke 14:4) and they had nothing to say or they could not answer him (v 6).
The Pharisees and the scribes
They watched him (v 1)
Jesus answered, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?” (v 3),
They remained silent/held their peace (v 4)
He took him, and healed him, and let him go (v 4)
They had nothing to say or they could not answer him (v 6)
Jesus answered them, “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath day?” (v 5).
In contrast to Jesus’ three actions: Jesus answered, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?” (v 3), he took him, and healed him, and let him go (v 4), and Jesus answered them, “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath day?” (v 5).
In the previous chapter, Jesus had received a stern warning from the Pharisees in the imperative: “Get thee out,” and “depart “hence: for Herod will kill thee (Luke 13:28), but it did not stop him from entering the house of the house of a prominent Pharisee in the next chapter. In other versions it’s one of the chief Pharisees (KJV), one of the leaders of the Pharisees (NASB) and a ruler of the Pharisees (ESV). As you can see, the Pharisee was definitely in a leadership position, not “prominent” (NIV) in the sense of a respected or renowned person, but a ruling Pharisee. Jesus did not dodge, defer or dread it because He had a person in mind.