Miracle 29:
Healing the Man with Dropsy
     

I. OBSERVATION

A. Luke 14:1-6 - 1And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. 2And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. 3And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? 4And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; 5And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? 6And they could not answer him again to these things. [i]

B. Progression Stated: Logical

1. Content

a.      The plot  14:1 - I must confess that if a Pharisee had asked me to come to dinner for the purpose of spying on me, I would have refused. The Pharisee was watching for something that would discredit our Lord. This first verse provides the atmosphere, tone, and color of the situation. It was the prelude before the dinner that produced the tenseness.

1.       The outward courtesy shown to Jesus was a sham, for the Pharisees were seeking opportunities to criticize Him. [ii]

2.       Psalms 140:1-5    “Deliver me, O LORD, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man; Which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war.3 They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips. Selah4 Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings. The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. 

b.      The plant  14:2 -  A trap was laid to ensnare the Lord. I believe this man was deliberately planted to motivate our Lord to break the Sabbath by healing him. Notice what He did. The Lord asked the question first, and they were afraid to answer Him.[iii]

1.       Dropsy. This describes an abnormal accumulation of serous fluid in the body’s connective tissue or in a serous cavity. The accumulation causes swelling. [iv]

2.       An unnatural accumulation of fluid in parts of the body[v]…..  to suffer edema[vi]

3.       An excessive accumulation of serous fluid in tissue spaces or a body cavity.

4.       Edema, general term for the accumulation of excess fluid in any body tissue, cavity, or organ, except bone. Accumulation in the pleural cavity is called pleural effusion; in the cranium, hydrocephalus; and in the abdominal cavity, ascites. Generalized edema is referred to as anasarca. Major causes are heart or kidney failure, low blood serum protein after starvation or liver failure, shock, and impaired return of blood from extremities.[vii]

5.       The retention of excess water may occur following injury, as when water accumulates in the knee; in congestive heart failure, when the heart pumps insufficient blood to eliminate a normal volume of fluid; and in a variety of other disabilities, including hypertension, cirrhosis of the liver, and kidney diseases.[viii]

c.      The proposition  14:3-4a - If their ox or donkey fell into something, they would rescue it. In other words, if any of those rascals had had a flat tire on the Sabbath, they would have fixed it, and the Lord knew it. “That’s the reason I’m fixing up this fellow here—he’s in trouble.”[ix]

1.       The Jews would pull a child or an animal out of a well on the Sabbath, though technically this was work. Their acts in an emergency showed that deeds of mercy were lawful on the Sabbath, and Jesus had performed a deed of mercy.[x]

2.       Jesus never won many legalists to His cause. But neither did He allow their abuse of Scripture or people to go unchallenged.[xi]

3.       These Sabbath-day controversies (Luke 14:1–6) show a tension between the letter of the Law and its spirit.

4.       The Old Testament was clear about keeping the Sabbath holy by resting from work (Ex. 20:8–11). But Jesus was known for doing the “work” of healing on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10–17). Was He breaking the Law or not? The lawyers and Pharisees couldn’t say (14:6).

5.       Jesus let them stew over the issue, but clearly He was convinced that He was acting well within the Law. If He appeared to break it, it was only because His enemies paid more attention to superficial, external ways of “keeping” the Law than to its underlying moral spirit.

6.       Furthermore, over the centuries their predecessors had heaped up countless traditions on top of the Law, creating a mammoth set of expectations that no one could fulfill.

7.       In our own day, even believers sometimes try to live by a rigid set of dos and don’ts that go beyond the clear teaching of Scripture. Like the Pharisees, we are tempted to be more concerned about the externals of the faith than the larger principles of “justice and the love of God” (Luke 11:42). Given His treatment of the self-righteous Pharisees, what would Jesus say to us?[xii]

8.       What does it mean to keep the Sabbath holy?[xiii]

a.      In the Old Testament, God commanded the Hebrews to set aside one day a week as a “Sabbath,” a holy day of rest (Ex. 20:8–11; Is. 58:13–14; Jer. 17:19–27). Yet here in Romans, Paul seems to take a nondirective posture toward the Sabbath (Rom. 14:5). Does that mean that there is no such thing as a “Lord’s day,” that God’s people are no longer required to observe a Sabbath, whether it be Saturday or Sunday?

b.      Not exactly. For Paul, every day should be lived for the Lord because we are the Lord’s possession (14:8). If we act as if Sunday is the Lord’s day but the other six days belong to us, then we’ve got a major misunderstanding. All seven days of the week belong to the Lord.[xiv] 

d.       The procedure  14:4b
e.     The point  14:5 - Jesus exposes their distorted sense of values.[xv]

1.       Know that those who have the greatest knowledge of truth will be held accountable for the greatest fruitfulness.[xvi]

2.       The law of Moses did not forbid healing on the Sabbath, but the “traditions of the elders” (Mark 2:16 note) did prohibit medical treatment unless the condition was life threatening.[xvii] 

d.      The perplexity  14:6 - This incident created a rather tense situation for dinner.[xviii] 

II. INTERPRETATION

·         Jesus demonstrates the hypocrisy of Israel’s leadership for perverting the Sabbath and having no compassion for people. The Sabbath was made for the benefit of man, not for bondage.  The Sabbath was a sign of the mosaic covenant (the law).  What God did in the law was make provision for men by sacrificing animals.  They had taken the animals and made them more important than humanity.  They not only had missed the Sabbath, they had missed the very point of the law. 

III. APPLICATIONS

·         Humanity is more important than animals. I can’t help but think about our animal rights activists who put the existence of a salamander, a fish or a bird over the welfare of people. And recently we’ve heard several news stories about people keeping pit bulldogs and bobcats in a residential neighborhood and these animals severely injuring people.

·         Hypocrisy and lack of compassion is the result of and evidence of an unrighteous religious system.



[i]The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.

[ii]Jack W. Hayford, general editor; consulting editors, Sam Middlebrook…[et.al.], Spirit filled life study Bible [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1991.

[iii]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[iv]Ronald F. Youngblood, general editor; F.F. Bruce and R.K. Harrison, consulting editors, Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary: An authoritative one-volume reference work on the Bible with full color illustrations [computer file], electronic edition of the revised edition of Nelson’s illustrated Bible dictionary, Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995.

[v]Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nelson’s topical Bible index [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995.

[vi]James Strong, New Strong’s guide to Bible words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[vii]"Edema," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2000. © 1993-1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

 

[viii]"Diuretic," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2000. © 1993-1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

 

[ix]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[x]Luder Whitlock, Jr., executive director; R.C Sproul, general editor, New Geneva study Bible [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995 by Foundation for Reformation.

[xi]Thomas Nelson, Inc., Word in Life Study Bible [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[xii]Thomas Nelson, Inc., Word in Life Study Bible [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[xiii]Thomas Nelson, Inc., Word in Life Study Bible [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[xiv]Thomas Nelson, Inc., Word in Life Study Bible [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[xv]Jack W. Hayford, general editor; consulting editors, Sam Middlebrook…[et.al.], Spirit filled life study Bible [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1991.

[xvi]Jack W. Hayford, general editor; consulting editors, Sam Middlebrook…[et.al.], Spirit filled life study Bible [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1991.

[xvii]Luder Whitlock, Jr., executive director; R.C Sproul, general editor, New Geneva study Bible [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995 by Foundation for Reformation.

[xviii]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.