9 Going on from that place, Jesus went into their synagogue. 10 A man with a weak and twisted hand was there. The Pharisees were trying to find fault with Jesus. So they asked him, “Does the Law allow us to heal on the Sabbath day?” 11 He said to them, “What if one of your sheep falls into a pit on the Sabbath? Won’t you take hold of it and lift it out? 12 A man is worth more than sheep! So the Law allows us to do good on the Sabbath day.” 13 Then Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out. It was as good as new, just as good as the other hand. 14 But the Pharisees went out and planned how to kill Jesus. 15 Jesus knew all about the Pharisees’ plans. So he left that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick people. 16 But he warned them not to tell who he was. 17 This was to make what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah come true. It says, 18 “Here is my servant. I have chosen him. He is the one I love. I am very pleased with him. I will put my Spirit on him. He will announce to the nations that everything will be made right. 19 He will not argue or cry out. No one will hear his voice in the streets. 20 He will not break a bent twig. He will not put out a dimly burning flame. He will make everything right. 21 The nations will put their hope in him.” (Isaiah 42:1–4)
It is pretty hard to imagine someone actually being resistant to Jesus healing someone, just because of rules around what can happen on a certain day of the week, but I wonder if we are almost like the Pharisees sometimes. OK, so maybe we do accept that Jesus is our saviour, but then we limit our expectations of him, and put rules in place around how much of our lives He can speak into.
In the whole chapter of Matthew 12, Jesus is showing the disciples and Pharisees that they were right in seeing that the Sabbath was sacred, but He was trying to highlight that they had gotten the point of this sacredness all wrong! Similar to the Pharisees, there are things in my life that I have made “sacred” that I have a series of rules and routines around, and I get annoyed when I cant do them “properly.” For me a big one is my daily Bible reading – I get annoyed at myself if I fall behind the targets I have set that will help me achieve my goals and I don’t like being interrupted when I am reading. While its great that I want to spend time in the word, I sometimes miss the point when I make it about goals and targets.
Dear Lord, please help me to see how I am Pharisaical in my attitudes and behaviours, especially when it is really subtle. Help me to become more like Your son Jesus. Amen
Written by Ps. Justin Ware