The scenario presents two faces of rigidity: the man with the withered hand and the scribes and Pharisees rigid in their strict observance of the Law. Jesus can easily cure the man’s physical infirmity, but it is difficult to cure the rigidity of the scribes and Pharisees that is deeply engrained in their hardness of minds and hearts. They pride themselves as superior to the rest of the Jews because of their strict loyalty to the Scriptures, the traditions of the rabbis, the observance of ceremonial purity laws, and the payment of religious dues.
Jesus knows their intentions. He exposes their fanaticism and hypocrisy in his scathing rebuke of their insincerity—their words do not match their actions. Everything they do is for external show, but their hearts are devoid of compassion. On the other hand, they cannot stop Jesus from doing good and saving life even on the Sabbath.
Gospel • LUKE 6:6-11
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.
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