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The invisible wall of religious rules may be the most difficult to tear down and many times moves people into destructive behavior. This wall has the ability to completely blind you, to make you feel like you are doing everything right, and moves you to destroy all that is good and right. These Pharisees were so blinded by their laws of the Sabbath that they plotted how to kill the only one who is above it all-the Lord of the Sabbath-Jesus, himself.

Check it out: On another Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching; and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching him closely to see if he healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse him. But he knew what they were thinking, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” And he got up and came forward. And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?” After looking around at them all, He said to him, “Stretch out your hand!” And he did so; and his hand was restored. But they themselves were filled with rage, and discussed together what they might do to Jesus. (Luke 6:6-11)

Laws about healing on the Sabbath seem somewhat contradictory and confusing. In general, the rabbis held that only a danger to life warranted a breach of the Sabbath law. Therefore someone suffering from heart trouble might be treated, but not someone with a toothache. Jesus is aware of the Pharisees’ motives, and tells the man with the shriveled hand,“Get up and stand in front of everyone.”The stage is set for a confrontation that was a definite setup.

With the poor handicapped man standing before them, Jesus asks, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” (6:9).The Pharisees have no concern, no pity for the man standing in the synagogue. All they can think about is their precious interpretation of the Law. Mark’s Gospel adds,“He looked around at them in anger, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts” (Mark 3:5).

This wall is so deceptive and immovable that the only way to tear it down is a miracle from God. And, this is just what Jesus did. And every miracle performed by Jesus enraged them even more. The religious leadership is so blinded that they will do anything to stop the life-giving works of Jesus. In fact, they will eventually seek to put to death the only one who can turn death and dying into life and living. They accomplished their blind intention and put Jesus to death; Jesus responded by coming back to life, ultimately breaking through the invisible wall of religious blindness.


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