Again (Jesus) entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 And they watched him, to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come here.” 4 And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Hero′di-ans against him, how to destroy him.
This week our country will honor rule breakers. On July 2 1776 the Second Continental Congress voted, with one colony abstaining, to declare themselves free from British rule. In so doing they broke the rules of the day: they were supposed to obey the crown. They broke the rules — and we honor them for it.
Jesus goes to the synagogue on the sabbath. There were strict rules to be followed on the sabbath. Among them was this: you were to do no work on the sabbath. Present was a man with a withered hand. The religious leaders, who loved the rules, were watching. If Jesus healed the man’s hand, that would constitute working on the sabbath. Jesus sets the rules aside and heals the man; the religious leaders are furious!
Our nation’s Founding Fathers put the well-being of people ahead of rules. So did Jesus. Maybe there’s a lesson in there for us.