Monday, September 5, 2011

Luke 6:6-11 The meaning of the Sabbath

On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught,
and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.
The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely
to see if he would cure on the sabbath
so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.
But he realized their intentions
and said to the man with the withered hand,
"Come up and stand before us."
And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them,
"I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?"
Looking around at them all, he then said to him,
"Stretch out your hand."
He did so and his hand was restored.
But they became enraged
and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

In this passage, Jesus highlights the need to do good on the Sabbath rather than standing by and allowing evil to occur. Here he is challenging the legalistic understanding of the Sabbath. Although participation in the Sabbath connects all people to God's creative act, here he reminds us that if someone is in need, then we have an obligation to help them. The Sabbath should not be an excuse to allow others to suffer. The Sabbath celebrates God's love for the world and so although we should dedicate time to spend with God and our families, we must also care for our neighbours. We are called to do good on the Sabbath.

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