Romans 9: 1-5
I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
Psalm 147: 12-15, 19-20
Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
he blesses your children within you.
He grants peace within your borders;
he fills you with the finest of wheat.
He sends out his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
He declares his word to Jacob,
his statutes and ordinances to Israel.
He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
they do not know his ordinances.
Praise the Lord!
Luke 14: 1-6
On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely. Just then, in front of him, there was a man who had dropsy. And Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, “Is it lawful to cure people on the sabbath, or not?” But they were silent. So Jesus took him and healed him, and sent him away. Then he said to them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that has fallen into a well, will you not immediately pull it out on a sabbath day?” And they could not reply to this.
Have you ever had to stay home sick from a party? It’s terrible and sad to have to miss fun times with friends or exciting social endeavors, but yet you know that your physical ailments would keep you from having a good time anyway. The man with dropsy came to the meal at the Pharisee’s house even though he was ill. Dropsy, or more commonly know today as edema, is swelling a person’s body, usually the legs, due to excessive fluid build up that is most often caused by congestive heart failure. For a man with dropsy to be present at the dinner with Jesus, we can gather a few things about him. For starters, the man has most likely suffered tremendously. To him, dropsy may be the least of his worries given the trials that caused it, or, it may be the ever constant reminder of his illnesses that may never fully recover. When people suffer with chronic illness, they have to decide how they will react in public and choose who they will let into their journey. It’s vulnerable and painful each time a person learns their story because the one with the illness usually cannot predict how another will react to their needs. Given the Pharisees comments about him, it is safe to assume that this man was unwanted by the community and the religious leaders denied him healing.
But yet, this disabled man still sought the company of Jesus and came to the party in poor shape. He considered that level of suffering and vulnerability to be worth it to be near the teacher, and Jesus did not disappoint. The heart of Christ is evident here in that His desire for the sabbath is for us to receive rest and if our suffering is keeping us from doing that, than he removes our suffering. Physical and emotional trials each can create a wedge between us and the Lord. In the same way that not going to the party when we’re sick can create distance on our social lives, if we hide from Jesus when we’re hurting, we deny Him the opportunity of healing us.
The sabbath was meant for man to rest and know God. Because of this, it is in perfect character with Jesus that He would take the day set aside for spending quality time with Him, and enable each person to do so. Jesus does not ask to do anything without giving us the tools to do so. If the traumas and pains of our lives have had a chronic effect that has separated us from God, then like the man with dropsy, Jesus desires to heal us completely.
Prayer: Lord sometimes it is hard be vulnerable and let you see my needs. But like the man with dropsy, I too have lingering pains from past traumas, but sometimes I don’t let you in. Lord today I bring to you the left over pain from sin I have committed and sin committed against me, and ask that you heal me completely so that I may receive your rest. Amen.