Healing on the Sabbath


9 Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. 10 And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him.

11 Then He said to them, “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? 12 Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. 14 Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him. — Matthew 12:9-14.

Jesus enters a synagogue. He encounters a physically challenged man, one with a withered hand. In an effort to accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath, the Pharisees (v.14) ask Him: “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

Jesus answers them (paraphrase):“If one of your sheep falls into a pit on the Sabbath, won’t you lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep? Therefore, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

Then Jesus says to the physically challenged man, “Stretch out your hand.”
He does as bidden. The withered hand is restored, as whole as the other.

The Pharisees leave. They plot on how they might destroy Jesus.

This is another example of the Christ’s lordship over the Sabbath. Again, there is no Old Testament prohibition of healing on the Sabbath, and it is always lawful to do good. The problem was not that the Pharisees observed the Sabbath but that they misinterpreted it, and turned what should have been a delight into a burden. (RSB.)


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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