Luke 6.6,7 And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered.
And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.
The Greek Word for watched means “To closely observe. To behold intensely.” This scene in our passages this morning is not happening in the alley way of the inner city where rival gangs are meeting face to face. This is “church”! Jesus is teaching, and there is man who is in need of help. He is withered. He is in need of spiritual, physical and emotional healing. The Pharisees had interpreted to the “Do not work” law on the sabbath day to mean, do not help anybody who is in need UNLESS, they are bleeding to death.
Jesus, the walking theology of heaven, comes to church and has the audacity to publicly heal this man. Hallelujah! Glory to God, right? No! The orthodox religious community finds Jesus guilty of breaking the law of God. Why? Because the Pharisee in me always regards the letter of the law as final authority.
The “children of the Pharisees” today are usually the champions of orthodoxy. They are the self appointed guardians of the purity and holiness of the church. They are the self appointed officers of right and wrong behavior. They watch for any slip up. They pry into every nook and cranny of whoever or whatever they perceive to be “out of line” with their Pharisaical “code of ethics”. There is no room for human error.
Pharisees often have certain individuals “in their radar.” These individuals in their radar think outside of their box of orthodoxy. They may have some rough edges and may not be as polished as “they should be”. Thus, they are forever “reaching out” to correct them from the “error” of their ways.
Like Job’s friends, all wisdom and knowledge starts and ends with them. They rarely will acknowledge the fruit or acknowledge the efforts that are being made by these individuals to grow in Christ or minister to others. They really are not interested in hearing the history of their withered condition. Truth be told, we tend to act like Pharisees towards people that we dislike or rub us the wrong way. Thus, we write them off or believe their faith in Jesus is questionable.
The only people who get a “free pass” from the scrutiny of us Pharisees are fellow Pharisees. The shortcomings or flaws of our fellow Pharisees (our “clique”) are “understandable” and “under the blood” of Jesus. After all, “nobody’s perfect”.
Phariaseeism in any way, shape or form, has no place in the body of Christ. There is a Pharisee in writer and reader alike. Us holier than thou Pharisees are descendants of the “good prodigal” who simply could not get over the fact that the Living God, Who is holy and pure, is not threatened or surprised by the blatant sins, failures or unwise choices of his “other prodigal.” What we all need is grace, compassion, understanding and love.
Beloved, our God is a merciful and forgiving God. He is more merciful and forgiving than we can ever imagine! He never watches us to condemn us or make us feel guilty. He knows our struggles in the pursuit of following Him and desiring to serve and please Him. God could see beneath the immorality and bloody hands of David a man that He would call, a man after His own heart, in spite of what a Pharisee might say. Our God is the Good Shepherd Who loves each and every one of His sheep the same. He guides us. He chastens us. And He continually restores us in His perfect love. He Who knows us best, loves us most. And He commands us to do likewise. Selah