The Gospel of Luke: a commentary & meditation 
"Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?"

Scripture: Luke 6:6-11

6 On another Sabbath, when he entered the synagogue and taught, a man was there whose right hand was withered. 7 And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. 8 But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come and stand here." And he rose and stood there. 9 And Jesus said to them, "I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?" 10 And he looked around on them all, and said to him, "Stretch out your hand." And he did so, and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

Meditation: What is God's intention for the commandment, keep holy the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8; Deut. 5:12)? The scribes and Pharisees wanted to catch Jesus in the act of breaking the Sabbath ritual so they might accuse him of breaking God's law.  In a few penetrating words Luke records that Jesus knew their thoughts.  They were filled with fury and contempt for Jesus because they put their own thoughts of right and wrong above God.  They were ensnared in their own legalism because they did not understand or see the purpose of God.  Jesus shows their fallacy by pointing to God's intention for the Sabbath: to do good and to save life rather than to do evil or to destroy life.  Christians celebrate Sunday as the Lord's Day, to commemorate God's work of redemption in Jesus Christ and the new work of creation he accomplished through Christ's death and resurrection. Taking "our sabbath rest" is a way of expressing honor to God for all that he has done for us.  Such "rest" however does not exempt us from our love for our neighbor.  If we truly love the Lord above all else, then the love of God will overflow to love of neighbor as well.  Do you honor the Lord in the way you celebrate Sunday, the Lord's Day and in the way you treat you neighbor?

"Lord, in your victory over sin and death on the cross and in your resurrection you give us the assurance of sharing in the eternal rest of heaven. Transform my heart with your love that I may freely serve my neighbor for his good and find joy and refreshment in the celebration of Sunday as the Lord's Day."


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 (c)1999 Don Schwager