On another Sabbath He entered the synagogue and was teaching; and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him. But He knew what they were thinking, and He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” And he got up and came forward. And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?” 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 themselves were filled with rage, and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.
Focus On – The Pharisees
The scribes and Pharisees were watching Him closely – good idea!! Watching Jesus closely is so worthwhile, He is interesting, endearing and altogether lovely BUT why were they so interested? They hope to trap, accuse and persecute Jesus; their motives were all wrong.
But when Jesus puts the focus is on them, they remain silent. They have no answer to His direct question. They claim they are the defenders and teachers of the law; they should know it perfectly. Why don’t they answer?
A withered hand is restored and the Pharisees are filled with rage, not just frustrated and annoyed, enraged – why? They just witnessed a miraculous healing, why aren’t they celebrating with the man and praising God? Not the Pharisees, they whisper together, to them, people don’t matter, rules rule. They would rather be plotting a trap for Jesus.
Christians are always being watched and the more public we are the more closely we are watched. Pharisees watch hoping to catch Christ followers in sin, failure, or hypocrisy. Believers are not perfect and we will and do sin, fail and act like phonies and fools. When we do, we need to be quick to ask for forgiveness from those we’ve offended, to admit our sin and failure, to make amends.
Oh Lord, help me to be aware that I am being watched. Help me to live above reproach and when I fail to ask for forgiveness quickly. Help me remember that I am not the target, Jesus is! It is the reputation of Jesus Christ I need to uphold, it is the reputation of Jesus Christ that is being attacked and defamed. Lord, show me if I am ever being a “Pharisee”, if my attitude or words are judgmental or condemning, help me to be someone who extends grace . Help me to walk in a manner worthy of being called by His name, Christian.