The Lord of the Sabbath (con't)

by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

On another Sabbath day Jesus went into the church to worship God and to preach the word. A man was there whose hand was withered and helpless. The Pharisees watched Jesus to see if he would cure this man on the Sabbath. They hoped he would cure him, not because they cared for the poor, crippled man, but because they were eager to find something to say against Jesus.

Jesus spoke to the man with the withered hand, "Stand up and come forward." The man stood up before them all; and then Jesus, looking straight at his enemies, said:

"Is it against the law on the Sabbath day to do good or to do harm; to save a life, or to try to kill a man, as you are trying to do? If one of you men owns a single sheep, and he should happen on the Sabbath day to find it fallen into a pit, would he not take hold of it and lift it out? And how much more is a man worth than a sheep? Thus it is right to do a kind and helpful act on the Sabbath."

He looked around sternly at his enemies, being sad and grieved because their hearts were so hard. They did not have a word to say; and after waiting a moment he turned to the man with the withered hand and said:

"Stretch out your hand!"

He reached out his arm, and the withered hand was at once made well and strong, as sound as the other. Jesus went away, but the Pharisees were filled with anger against him. They talked together, seeking some way to kill Jesus; and they called upon the friends of King Herod, the ruler of Galilee, to see if they could not persuade the king to order that Jesus should be put to death.

But Jesus went on teaching and curing those that were sick, paying no attention to the plans of his enemies. He told those whom he cured, not to go out and speak to others about him, but to stay quietly at home; for the crowds coming to hear him were already great, and he did not wish them to be any greater. So many people came together from all parts of the land, and even from places outside the land of Israel, from the country of Tyre and Sidon on the north and from Edom or Idumea on the south. They thronged around Jesus, and pressed upon him; so that he spoke to his disciples to have a little boat at hand, to wait upon him, and take him out into the lake for quiet and rest.