December 21, 2019

Healing Priorities

December 21, 2019


Matthew 12:9-14
This weekend’s scripture: Matthew 1:18-25


In this passage, the Pharisees are trying to set a trap for Jesus. He has entered the Pharisees home turf—the synagogue—and they confront him (a staged scene, I suspect) with a man who has a “withered hand.” Since most of the people of Israel of that day were farmers or laborers, it’s likely that this kind of disability would have meant that the man couldn’t work, couldn’t earn money to support a family, and so was socially and economically cut off from the community in many ways.

But Jesus uses an agricultural example to show the Pharisees how wrong they are—sheep herding! If a sheep fell into a pit—the sheep being very economically valuable to the livelihood of a person during that time—wouldn’t you break the rules against working on the Sabbath and pull it out? The answer, of course, was yes!

By healing the man, Jesus was showing that when we show compassion to someone who is cut off from society—because of economics or race or gender or any other status—we are benefiting a Kingdom even greater than the world we live in. This day, let us take note of how we might be called to be a healing presence in the world around us.


  • What are some of the ways that we can be a part of a “healing” ministry? What does this mean in our context?


  • Discuss why it was okay for Jesus to break the rule of the Sabbath? What’s the difference between good rules that we should follow and rules that stop us from doing good for others?


God, we give you thanks for the ways in which you heal and protect us. Help us to be a healing presence in the lives of others this day. Amen.