The miracles of Jesus: Healing on the Sabbath

The miracles of Jesus: Healing on the Sabbath

Matthew 12:9-14 – Luke 13:10-17

By this time in the ministry of Jesus he was drawing great crowds, and many had witnessed the mighty miracles and heard the teaching with authority. Religious leaders could not afford to be indifferent to the impact of Jesus on the people. Certainly, some came to witness and hear Jesus just to curry favor with the Pharisees and other religious officials. Later the religious leaders would send their own spies, all looking for way to discredit Him with the people.

On the seventh day God rested from His labor, Gen 2:2-3. The law prescribes a rest on the sabbath to remember always the great works of creation, Exodus 20:11. Through out the years they had questioned what was meant by work and had codified a law to prescribe what was considered work and what was not. The Sabbath day was not a day of assemble and worship, this did not start until the advent of the synagogues we see in New Testament times. By the time of our account the justified & Unjustified works had become more important than the reason & purpose of the sabbath.

Matthew 12:9-14 HCSB Moving on from there, He entered their synagogue. 10 There He saw a man who had a paralyzed hand. And in order to accuse Him they asked Him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” 11 But He said to them, “What man among you, if he had a sheep that fell into a pit on the Sabbath, wouldn’t take hold of it and lift it out? 12 A man is worth far more than a sheep, so it is lawful to do what is good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then He told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out, and it was restored, as good as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.

The pharisees by and large never asked a question of Jesus without a hiding agenda in mind. They were in the synagogue & present was a man with a paralyzed hand. They sought to trap Jesus into healing on the sabbath for they knew of his great compassion. They would accuse him of braking the law by working on the Sabbath. Of course, the law given by God and the laws codified throughout time were a different matter to Jesus. He points out their inconsistency with their codified law a and lack of respect for God’s law as well. Few things enrage a person so much as envy. These were so enraged, therefore they sought to destroy Him.

Luke 13:10-17 HCSB As He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath, 11 a woman was there who had been disabled by a spirit for over 18 years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, He called out to her, “Woman, you are free of your disability.” 13 Then He laid His hands on her, and instantly she was restored and began to glorify God. 14 But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, responded by telling the crowd, “There are six days when work should be done; therefore come on those days and be healed and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 But the Lord answered him and said, “Hypocrites! Doesn’t each one of you untie his ox or donkey from the feeding trough on the Sabbath and lead it to water? 16 Satan has bound this woman, a daughter of Abraham, for 18 years—shouldn’t she be untied from this bondage on the Sabbath day?” 17 When He had said these things, all His adversaries were humiliated, but the whole crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things He was doing.

Apparently, this was earlier in his ministry because He was teaching in a synagogue and therefore welcomed or at least tolerated. A woman bent over for 18 years moved our Lord’s compassion and He heals her. This time it is a leader of the syna-gogue who becomes indignant and instructs the people to come for healing on the other Six day of the week and not on the sabbath. The callousness with which his instruction is given moves Jesus to rebuke him point out care for animals is greater than for Humans. Again it is this codified law the Leader is referring to and Jesus likewise points out the inconsistency in that law once again.

Here we see the ultimate affects of “the Leaven of the Pharisees” Luke 12:1. The synagogue leader was simply trying to enforce or reinforce the Pharisees codified law. The Pharisees exercised a great deal of influence over all the people. They were masters at influence peddling. They accomplished this through intimidation, persecution and even threats of various kinds. Jesus concern was for the Law of the Lord God and proper exercise of it. Political maneuvering is never praised or re-warded by God. While it can and often does have major affects with-in society and the church our Lord Jesus heartily discourages the use of all such tactics.

Jesus used the miracles for at least two main reasons. First, because of the compassion He maintained throughout His Ministry on this earth. There was great physical suffering at this time and it moved Jesus to address its problems. He knew full well the evil and suffering in the world were fruits of disobedience to God. 16 Satan has bound this woman…”

Second, paramount in the mind of Jesus is the Law of God. His law “…is a lamp to my feet and light to my path.” for all human beings. God warned Adam & Eve about the tree not for some arbitrary reason. No, He warned them for their own good. Just as he has down through the centuries warned all of the thoughts and behaviors for our good. There are consequences so dreadful God seeks to spare us of them. Jesus is the sole way to regain our relationship with God. The Miracles of Jesus are a record of His involvement for good in the quality of human life in the here and now and the hear after.


  1. Why did the Pharisees ask Jesus if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?
  2. How did Jesus point out the inconsistency of those who objected to healing on the Sabbath?
  3. Who does Jesus say is the cause of the Women bent over for 18 years condition?
  4. What law(s) was the source of actions on the Sabbath the Pharisees pointed to?
  5. Explain the reactions when Jesus points the inconsistencies of their teachings. Discussion
  6. What was the original source for the Pharisees definition for work? Why did they feel compelled to define work for everyone?
  7. Where did synagogues and Sabbath assemblies come from. It is or is not God’s plan?
  8. What was “the leaven of the Pharisees”? Why was Jesus concerned His disciples not practice it?
  9. Has our study today, offered an understand how the work of the church can be undermined?