Summary: Jesus setting the Pharisees straight and shutting down their argumentative spirit.
The Protagonist and the Antagonist
Rev. Phillip A. Wright
Jesus was literally on display in midst of the Pharisees in home of one of their rulers. This was the primary group who would want to catch Jesus in some form of a compromise. So let’s look at our passage and see how the Protagonist (hero) dealt with the Antagonist (adversary).
Luke 14:1-6 NKJ 1Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely. 2 And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. 3 And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" 4 But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go. 5 Then He answered them, saying, "Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?" 6 And they could not answer Him regarding these things.
I. A Pondering Inspection – Vs. 1
A. Like most teachers or ministers Jesus was invited to share a meal in the homes of several in scripture. This incident is no exception. He had other similar experiences to this one.
B. Did you ever feel that you were the center of attention and that all eyes were on you? Well that’s what we have here.
C. Illustration: I remember a deodorant commercial several years ago. The scene was a sort of foggy highway and a long string of cars all wrecked. The camera pans from the end of the line to the front. The man in the front – apparently was at fault, it seemed. The camera zoomed in on the man’s arm pit and it was dry. The voice over said with “our brand you can have confidence even though you are about to be sued by about 60 people.”
D. Jesus’ primary adversaries were sitting with him at the table and although this was supposed to be a meal; it was in fact an inquest looking to find fault in the Lord. Jesus is not sweating the small stuff.
II. A Preview Incident – Vs. 2
A. In front of Jesus was a man who was in desperate need of healing. Most translations call the disease “dropsy.” That is a type of swelling in the arms and legs.
B. It was a case of a man in need on the Sabbath day.
C. Since when does suffering only happen when it’s convenient?
D. Now one must ask why that man was present. Well clearly, we are not told. He could have been someone brought in to be seen by the Lord, he could have been a servant, or even one of the Pharisees.
E. The man’s presence is not the issue. The issue is what Jesus did.
III. A Patent Inquisition – Vs. 3-4
A. Jesus questioned the legality of healing on the Sabbath. He knew the answer to the question (which was unspoken) but in their minds.
B. Robertson’s Word Pictures: Luk 14:3 - Answering (apokritheis). First aorist passive participle without the passive meaning. Jesus answered the thoughts of those mentioned in verse 1. Here "lawyers and Pharisees" are treated as one class with one article (tous) whereas in Luke 7:30 they are treated as two classes with separate articles. Or not (ê ou). The dilemma forestalled any question by them. They held their peace (hêsuchasan). Ingressive aorist active of old verb hêsuchazô. They became silent, more so than before.
C. Jesus had already confronted this issue with others of the Pharisee sect. Now it their turn. Jesus sees the question in their hearts as answers it as if it were asked. The Pharisees considered healing on the Sabbath to be a form of work, thus it was not lawful, according to their interpretation of scripture.
D. The Pharisees held their peace for one main reason, the power of the language show that they were dumbfounded.
E. They had seen something that so many others wanted to see and did not have the opportunity. They physically were present and personally observed Jesus touch a man and heal him instantly.
F. I can imagine that having seen something like that would kind of take the wind out of their sails. At least for awhile.
G. You have heard me say there is a difference between speculation and confirmation. Well these men had certainly heard that Jesus was capable of such things and I would only speculate there was an air of doubt in their minds. Then when it actually happened right in front of them, there is not a lot that can be said. Scan down to the end of this section. Don’t see these Pharisees taking any more cheap shot do you?