|In the Fulness of Time/Part 79|
|By: Dr. Thomas O. Figart; ©2007|
|Dr. Figart continues looking at the Sabbath: is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?|
Concerning the Sabbath (Continued). Matthew 12:9-13
Jesus Showed them that Life Supersedes the Law of the Sabbath. Matthew 12:9-13
The Question: Is it Lawful to heal on the Sabbath? 12:9-10
- Mt. 12:9-10—And when he was departed from there, he went into their synagogue. And, behold, there was a man who had his hand paralyzed. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? That they might accuse him.Luke 6:6 indicates that at least a week had passed since the incident of plucking grain: "And it came to pass on another sabbath...." Mark explains that their attention is now centered on Jesus: "And they watched him whether he would heal him on the sabbath day" (Mark 3:2). So their testing of Jesus is not in the form of a rebuke as in Matthew 12:2: "Thy disciples do that which is not lawful" but rather in the form of a question: "Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? John 7:22-23 gives some insight on this question. The Law of Moses included circumcision, yet it was already being practiced as a sign and seal of the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 17:9-14; Romans 4:11). The Mosaic Covenant made circumcision compulsory (Exodus 12;48; Leviticus 12:3). Therefore, each baby boy was circumcised on the eighth day even if it was a sabbath, So Christ says, in John 7:23:
Major Point: You practice circumcision on the sabbath; this conferring of a benefit means so much that:
Minor Point: It is minor that the sabbath is broken by this act.
His second argument in the verse goes the other way:
Minor Point: The benefit of circumcision is to one member of a human body, yet it is commanded to be performed on the sabbath.
Major Point: The benefit of healing the impotent man in John 5, affected his entire body, yet it is not permitted on the sabbath day by tradition
Conclusion: John 7:24: "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment."
This relates to the question in Matthew 12:10 because it shows that the Jews did not consider it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day. The purpose of their question is thus explained: "that they might accuse him."
The Answer: It is lawful to heal on the Sabbath days. 12:11-13
- Mt. 12:11-13— And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out. How much, then, is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do good on the sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth, and it was restored well like the other.Jesus uses an approach similar to the one in John 7:21-24:
Minor Point: In verse 11 rescuing just one sheep from a pit is important enough to be permitted on the sabbath day (Compare Luke 13:15; 14:5).
Major Point: In verse 12 saving life (In this case, restoring a hand) is lawful on the sabbath because a man is much more valuable than a sheep.
At this point, Jesus showed His anger and grief at their hardness of heart (Mark 3:5). Then He asked the paralyzed man in full view of them all, to stretch forth his hand and it was healed completely! (Luke 6:8,10). Once again, the Pharisees "held their peace" (Mark 3:4) but inside their hardened hearts they were "filled with fury" (Luke 6:11). But "in the fulness of time," when they stand before Him at the Judgment, it will be too late to repent and believe in Christ as Savior! How sad that human tradition is more important than life; even eternal life!