Luke 6:1-11 contains two passages on the sabbath. In the first (which I’ve commented on in the previous post) the disciples pluck heads of grain while walking with Jesus on the sabbath. In the second passage (Luke 6:6-11), Jesus is teaching in the synagogue and heals a man with a withered hand. Luke 6:6-11 reads,
On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.
In each case, Jesus exposes the idolatry which occurs when the Law is misapplied or co-modified as a means of control of the variables of blessing rather than pointing to the Lawgiver who is blessing.
If it’s helpful, you may listen to me read the sonnet via the player below.
I sat there each sabbath in that same place
Pitied and lonely with my withered arm;
Friends couldn’t even look me in the face
For them a target of subtle alarm
That Providence’s purpose and pleasure
Is not easily read or understood:
Why not all judged with the same measure?
Why the wicked thrive though doing no good?
But goodness reached out on this sabbath day,
Freed me from power’s weighty, withering yoke
His question left them with nothing to say;
He worked with a word; he healed when he spoke.
To what length will this rabbi stretch out to take,
The broken in arm whom the powerful forsake?
© Randy Edwards 2017.
This sonnet is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks
Artwork: Christ heals the man with paralysed hand. Byzantine mosaic in the Cathedral of Monreale.