7683 - Silent Resistance

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(Original script will not match edited audio completely)

In our study through the book of Luke we have progressed to those passages, which are given only by Dr. Luke. The region in which these events took place was Perea, a large geographic area east of the Jordan. The time period for these events was about three months. Jesus went from here to Jerusalem for the final week of his life on earth.

Today we look at Luke 14:1-6. Listen:

1One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy. 3Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?" 4But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away.

5Then he asked them, "If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?" 6And they had nothing to say.

This is not the first time that healing on the Sabbath had brought conflict between the Pharisees and Jesus. The unfolding of the record of this meal declares the hard-heartedness of the Jews, especially the religious leaders, toward Jesus. After a great many miracles, which fulfilled passages of prophecy and pointed to the Messiah, most Jewish leaders scoffed and denied the work and teaching of Jesus.

The Apostle John tells us (Jn. 11:48) that these leaders were afraid that if they permitted Jesus to continue his ministry that everyone would believe in Him, and then the Romans would come and take away both our place [of leadership] and our nation. At that time they felt pretty desperate and more than once had discussion how they might kill Jesus to end all this conflict.

Even though they were religious leaders they loved the praise of men more than praise from God, we are told by John (Jn. 12:43); so their hearts were hard and their attitudes and actions were sinful.

They used their political power as a threat to the people. The word was out that if any Jew confessed their faith in Jesus he was subject to being banished from the synagogue. This was a somber punishment because the synagogue was not only the place of religious worship, but it was the center of the Jewish culture in any city.

In this passage for today, one may gain the opinion that the Jewish leaders were scheming against Jesus. The house where he was invited was the home of a Chief Pharisee, or a leader among the Pharisees. And the first thing we are told is that Jesus was being carefully watched.

It seems quite suspicious when, in this scene, there in front of Jesus appears a man afflicted by dropsy. Dropsy is a form of edema, where body fluids collect in cavities of the torso. This is often associated with disease of the heart, liver, kidneys or brain.

The only other people mentioned in this passage are other Pharisees and experts in the law. Could this be an arranged attempt to trap Jesus?

In any case, Jesus avoids confrontation by asking these leaders whether they considered it to be lawful to heal on the Sabbath.

These men did not open their mouth. They remained silent, didn’t say a word.

Notice Jesus didn’t utter any words either. He touched the man and healed him and sent him away. It was lawful to touch someone, so Jesus did not break the Jewish rules.

Then Jesus again addressed them all by asking whether they would pull one of their children, or one of their animals out of a well into which they had fallen, even if it was on the Sabbath.

If they had answered, they would have said Yes; but that would have weakened their case against Jesus. So again they said nothing.

We may say that everyone in this scene except the man who was healed, participated in silent resistance. That is, their very silence demonstrated the resistance, which was in their heart toward Jesus. It seems they already had made a judgment call and now they were looking for evidence to prove guilt, but we can’t be sure.