And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” (Luke 14:3)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath Day or not? Healing is sort of the point of the Sabbath. Yet sin makes you so blind that you see it as an obligation. Maybe not “do no work” as the Pharisees teach, but still, Old Adam always sees worship as a burden, not a gift. They made hard work of not working. We act like we deserve extra credit for putting on pants to receive forgiveness, life, and salvation from the God who bought and delivered it. Sin makes you stupid. The Pharisees are so proud of doing nothing that they stick a suffering man in front of Jesus and would honestly rather see him ignored than helped. He’s so disfigured by disease, so uncomfortable, so afraid to say anything to draw attention to what everyone is already thinking about that he becomes nothing more than what he would give anything not to be. A counterpoint to how good the Pharisees look. Everybody gets what they desire. The man, who can’t utter a petition in his shame, is healed. The Pharisees get nothing, just like they wanted. And Jesus gets to save a sinner in need and preach to those who do not yet believe.
God calls us to remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy. He doesn’t want you to have a vacation from work, He wants you to have time so He can spend it with you. For you. For every illness, every shame, every time we just want to crawl into a hole and pull the whole thing on top of us just to disappear and not be who people talk about. Jesus would even be near the Pharisee who only wants to trap Him. The Sabbath Day is not about behaving like Jesus, it’s about being near Him.
You aren’t made holy by where you sit, by how you behave, or what you do or don’t do. You’re made holy by Jesus. He died for you, bore your sins and your sicknesses, then rose to be present for you in Word and Sacrament. The Sabbath Day is for healing. The Sabbath Day is for you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. -Rev. Harrison Goodman
Lord, we implore You, grant Your people grace to withstand the temptations of the devil and with pure hearts and minds to follow You, the only God; through Jesus Christ, You Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.