A Reason to Accuse | Luke 6:7

And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him.

Luke 6:7 ESV

The previous verse provides three details regarding the context for this verse:

  1. Jesus was teaching in a synagogue.
  2. It was the Sabbath.
  3. There was also man with a withered hand.

Jesus came to proclaim the kingdom of God. His miracles were statements of validity, calling attention to His message. His acts of healing served His ministry of teaching, not the other way around. And yet He was known as a healer, a miracle-worker. To have someone with a deformity in the presence of Jesus was a divine intervention waiting to happen.

The Pharisees knew this all too well. Rather than giving ear to the incarnate Word of God, they instead hungrily contemplated Jesus, the man with a withered hand, and the Sabbath, ready to accuse Jesus of “working” on the Sabbath whenever He healed the man.

Thankfully, Jesus did not disappoint. Summoning the man over to Him, Jesus rose from His seated position as teacher, ready to do some “work.” Then He spoke to the Pharisees, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it” (v. 9)? He then healed the man but only “after looking around at them all” (v. 10).

Two things stand out to me about this passage.

First, consider the hardness of the Pharisees’ hearts. A man with a deformed hand stood in the presence of one known for His healings, yet they could only think of accusing Jesus. No empathy was shown for the man’s condition. No consideration was given to the teaching and person of Jesus. Their eyes were fixed upon the goal of trapping Jesus in an act of breaking the Fourth Commandment. And whenever Jesus flipped the script upon them, they stormed away with fury, wondering how they were going to stop Him for good. Surely, they proved themselves to be children of the Accuser by refusing and accusing God in the flesh before them. They were witnessing the very fulfillment of their holy Scriptures, but while hearing, they could not hear and though seeing, they could not see. As Aslan rightly lamented, “Oh Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!”[1]

Second, consider Jesus’ pointed response. In the face of ones who refuse to hear or see, Jesus did not attack, neither did He rant and rave against them. He simply spoke to the heart of the matter, took the time look upon each of them, and defiantly did exactly what they were waiting for. Even in such entrapment situations, Jesus was never out of control. He knew His purpose. He knew His task. “He knew their thoughts” (v. 8). But most importantly, He knew His Father.

May the Father of our Lord both guard us from hearts of wicked accusation and grant us the strength and courage to do His will boldly even when in the midst of accusers.


[1] C. S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew, 203.

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