(Luke 14:1-6 NIV)
“One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?" But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way. Then he asked them, "If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?" And they had nothing to say”
It is rumored that John McNaughton, a Canadian Investment Banker, said this: “Maturity always begins to grow when you can sense your concern for others outweighing your concern for yourself.” We can see this idea lived out when Jesus chooses to go to eat at the house of a Pharisee.
Jesus knew the trap that was set for him at this Pharisee’s house, but his concern for the suffering man there outweighed his concern for himself. Sabbath law restricted Jesus from doing any work. The Pharisees had fallen in love with the Sabbath but had forgotten the spirit of the Sabbath. That made them forget that there is no law or practice that outweighs what God wants from us: We cannot ever be in the presence of human need, have what it takes to help, and not intervene.
Jesus perceives this plot and lays a trap of his own. He replied to their question, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” with his own question, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?” Jesus makes it clear that if there is a provision for an animal on the Sabbath, how much more should we help a fellow human being?
This question was a trap, because if the Pharisees answered “Yes,” then their argument would fail because it would be lawful to heal on the Sabbath. If they answer “No,” then they must admit that they grossly misinterpreted God’s character. So, they decide to remain silent, showing their true motives.
Their silence, by consequence, brought a man before Jesus who may not have otherwise met him. In that silence, Jesus healed him and sent him on his way.
This text reveals that the Lord’s work in and through you must be inspired by a spiritual and healthy opinion of the person that you are ministering to. This is clear because Jesus did not believe this man deserved to have his disease. To Jesus, he was simply a man who needed help.
When you have faith in Christ, you can’t help but be concerned with what happens to other people. You learn to empathize and sympathize with those around you. This is because faith connects you to people on a higher level. It goes beyond physical appearance and makes you care about them in every way.
We ought to minister to everyone like Jesus ministered to this man: regardless of this man’s choices in life, Jesus viewed him as a candidate to be saved.