Watching but not seeing

From today’s reading of Luke 14-15

One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” And they could not reply to these things. – Luke 14:1-6 (ESV)

Scenes like this happen quite a few times in the gospels. There is consternation among the religious leaders because Jesus keeps breaking their sabbath laws. Specifically, he keeps healing people on the sabbath.

They’ve never really dealt with someone like Jesus. They know that what he’s doing is wrong, according to the traditions and fence laws that they have built through the centuries in interpreting “you shall do no work on the sabbath”. But they can’t really say why. As Jesus points out to them, in different circumstances, with someone they care about more like a son or an ox, they would do the exact same thing.

It’s a problem of love. In Jesus they are confronted with a love they don’t understand. For their entire lives, the blind, the lame, the deaf, those who have dropsy or a flow of blood or withered hands were simply living examples of how God punishes sin. Yet here is a man who is willing to take political and religious heat from them, to jeopardize both his own standing and even his own physical safety on behalf of those on the outs who in the past have always stayed on the outs; lame, blind, deaf, withered, bleeding. Here is a man who can’t even wait one day to heal them.

As the passage above states, “they were watching him carefully”. But they were not really seeing. They were missing everything.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *