The religious leaders were always condemning Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. When He healed the man with the withered hand, they demanded, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him. Jesus’ response was, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? “Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then He told the man to stretch out his hand and He healed him. What did the Pharisees do? They went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him (Matthew 12:10-14).
On another occasion, Jesus healed a woman who was bent over. She had this spirit of inwho had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years. This poor woman was like this for eighteen years. Try as she could, she just could not straighten up. When Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
The ruler of the synagogue had a conniption. He said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.” I love Jesus’ response.
“Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” He put His adversaries to shame (Luke 13:11-17).
There is a scene in the movie, The Gospel of John where Jesus is sitting on the steps outside the temple, I believe. This was after He healed the cripple by the pool of Bethesda. When the religious leaders saw the man carrying his mat, they were incensed and demanded to know why he was doing what was unlawful on the Sabbath. He explained that Jesus told him to get up and take his mat. Of course, they wanted to know who this man was who told him to do this but he didn’t know who Jesus was at the time but when he found out, he told them.
John tells us that for this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. In the movie, we see them circuling Jesus like sharks as He sat on the steps. What amazed my husband and me was that the Jews condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath and yet they were plotting to kill Him on the Sabbath. They wanted to kill Jesus for doing His Father’s work and because He made Himself equal to God by saying, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
It makes absolutely no sense to want to kill Someone for doing good on the Sabbath. If these men were children of God as they claimed, they would be glorifying Him like the people whom Jesus healed. They would not be finding fault in Jesus who was showing compassion toward these poor people who were suffering. The religious had turned God’s day of delight into a burden. Jesus was showing them that while the Sabbath was a day of rest from secular work, it was not a day of rest from God’s work. And, after all, Jesus came to do the Father’s will. And it was the Father’s will to heal the sick, give the blind sight, help the lame to walk, give hearing to the deaf and speech to the dumb. It was sad to see Jesus being condemned for healing.