Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
Zombies Want to Kill Jesus
I find it interesting that Jesus repeats his provocative actions on the Sabbath. He has developed a reputation by this point of disobeying Sabbath observances and they are looking to build a case against him. What type of man was Jesus? In the eyes of the religious elite and social elite, he was a trouble-maker. There was a national identity tied up in the Sabbath observance which they thought honoured God by its lack of action. Of course, there should be a rhythm of work and rest in life. That is something we are losing in our modern world. However, when a good idea is legislated harshly and becomes part of a national identity of harsh legalism, it needs opposing. Jesus is frustrated that a rule that was meant to indicate God’s presence is misrepresenting God so harshly. In the name of good, people are doing evil. They are killing the relationship that God wants with people. they pay homage to God with their lips, but their hearts are far from him.
The primary problem with the Jewish elite of Jesus day, and the elite of any culture or age, is that they are married to the status quo. It is how they got their status. They are proud and stubborn and unable to accept new teaching. Anyone who is not learning something new about themselves and changing appropriately is dead. When the comfort of living deadness is challenged the powerful want to bring death to those who disturb their repose. Jesus is the Life and the zombies want to kill him.
Help me to be less resistant to your changes in my life. You are truly alive but I love the comfort of death. I love to be undisturbed and rest in peace. Sometimes being active and alive is painful. I risk rejection, safety, and losing control. There are things recently that I wanted to control and have a certain way. I believe in rigid rituals for my benefit and the benefit of others, but when I am thwarted I am angry in an unhealthy way. Help me to discipline myself appropriately with a view to developing authentic relationship. Help me not to develop check-lists and routines that mask the fact that my spiritual life is cold and I lack a pulse.
- What had Jesus been doing with his Saturdays (Sabbath)?
- Why were people so upset with healing on a Saturday?
- If Jesus went to synagogue on a Saturday, why are Christians keeping Sunday special?
- If no day of the week is more special than any other, how does a Christian keep Sabbath appropriately?
- If rigid law-keeping kills and is evil, why do so many churches love it?