THE GIFT OF THE SABBATH (LUKE 6:6-11)
Here are some quotes on the Sabbath:
“The Sabbath is the center of the Ten Words as they are known in Deuteronomy.”
“Without the Sabbath, we ourselves become servants.”
“Without the Sabbath, contact with God is lost. With Sabbath, they can be a beautiful balance of labor and rest.”
“Without the Sabbath, burnout is almost inevitable.”
“Without the Sabbath, labor and land could too easily be exploited.”
“The world without the Sabbath is like a man without a smile.”
“The Sabbath is not simply a rest from labor, but it is a rest unto the Lord.”
Two groups of opposition appeared visibly in Jesus’ ministry: the scribes and the Pharisees. The scribes appear 58 times and the Pharisees 88 times in the Gospels. The Pharisees were the doers in the enforcement of the law and the scribes were the thinkers on interpretation of the law. To be fair to the Pharisees they were only involved in arresting Jesus (John 18:3), but the scribes’ part were arresting (Mark 14:43) Jesus, plus sentencing (Mark 14:53) and mocking Him (Mark 15:31). Jesus predicted that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes (never the Pharisees), and be killed (Matt 16:21, 20:18).
What makes people blind to their own spots? How do hypocrites behave? Why do people say one thing and do another?
Be Alive, Not Ashamed – Don’t be Restricted By Your Physical Self
6 On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. 7 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath.
A man (David Blackhall) blind for twenty years ago walked around pitying himself. Then one day his eleven-year-old daughter said something that gave his life a boost forever. One Saturday, she came to him and asked him to build her a periscope so she could look over tall things like fences. He told her that all she had to do was go out and buy him a couple of small mirrors. She came running back within minutes, and in less than an hour, with the help of cardboard and scissors and sticky tape, a periscope came off the workbench.
The man’s daughter hurried to demonstrate her new toy to the boy from next door. “My daddy made that,” she told him casually. “Your daddy made that?” he objected. “But your daddy is blind.”
“Yes, my daddy is blind,” she repeated. “But he’s not blind with his hands.
(David Blackhall in Reader's Digest)
The Sabbath was a great day for studying, learning and growing, but it had ceased from being a holy day to being a harsh law, with its prohibition, prosecution and punishment. In this account only Luke the doctor was so precise to notice that the man’s right hand was withered, a fact that escaped Matthew (Matt 12:10) and Mark (Mark 3:1). Withered can mean shrunken, shrivel and shortened hand. What does it mean if your right hand is withered? According to Wikipedia only 10%of the world’s population is left-handed (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handedness). Suppose this man is right-handed, it would mean doubly inconvenient, impeded and inhibited. In days of old, those with physical "blemishes" such as a crippled or broken hand, were forbidden from giving offerings to God or be near the altar (Leviticus 21:17-20), but the synagogue was kinder to them. The man, to his credit, was content to focus on the word of God, his worth before God and his walk with God. The hand was noticeable but he was a man of faith who was not bothered in his heart and mind as long as he was allowed to be in God’s presence.
Looking (v 7, The Pharisees and the teachers of the law, on the other hand, were “looking” for a reason to accuse Jesus) means watch (para-tereo) and debuts in the Bible in this instance ( Mark 3:2, Luke 6:7), fittingly to describe the relationship of the religious teachers with Jesus. The shorter version “watch” occurs 71 times in the Bible but “watch alongside” is a verb in the gospels which refer to the chief Pharisees (Luke 14:1) and the chief priests and the scribes (Luke 20:19-20) spying on Jesus. Technically, the verb “looking” is watch (tereo) alongside (para). They watched him like a hawk, tracked him like a spy and monitored him like a criminal.
What’s wrong with the Pharisees’ focus on Jesus’ healing? Their eyes were not focused on God, the Sabbath day or the man with a withered hand, but on Jesus who, ironically, was present to minister, heal and save. I used to have a housemate in youth who has a shortened hand two-thirds a person’s normal length, but he was just as energetic and effective as any other person, volunteering as a youth minster in a small church.