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Matthew 12:9-14 (NIV)
9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” 11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.
The religious leaders did not like that Jesus did not play by their rules, so they brought a man with a shriveled hand to Jesus as a test. Their rules stipulated that if a disease was not fatal it should not be healed on the Sabbath, which was the seventh day of the week set aside for corporate worship and remembrance of God’s rest from the work of creation (see Genesis 2:2-3). But Jesus points out that even they “save” animals on the Sabbath. Yet, how can they not see that this is what Jesus came to do for people?! Our “Pharisee” brains also fall into the trap of thinking that worship is about keeping the rules and we fail to see what God is doing when we gather on Sunday. He is declaring that we are the helpless sheep in need of saving, which is exactly what Jesus came to do. Why do we come to worship? Is it to get on God’s good side? To keep the rules? Or is it because we know that we are the lost sheep in need of saving and Jesus is our Good Shepherd? (See Matt. 9:36)