And 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. And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; And 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? And they could not answer him again to these things.Luke 14:1-6
A chief Pharisee invited many friends, Jesus, and a man with a serious illness to his house for dinner. They were all there together in the same scene but each had a drastically different motive for being there.
Given the fact that every time the Pharisees tried to argue with Jesus they failed miserably, it is shocking that one of their leaders would invite Jesus into his home for dinner! We can see from the phrase “they watched him” that these unbelievers thought they could catch Jesus in a trap and discredit Him in front of the people. But fools never learn.
Jesus asks them the same question He has asked them before, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” They could not answer because there was no logical reason why He should not heal this man nor was there anything in their own teachings that prohibited healing on the Sabbath. Jesus points out that they would help an animal on the Sabbath.
A mind that is not focused on the truth of God will continue to do irrational and illogical things. This man had an evil motive but only continues to build a case against himself and the other unbelieving Jews.
The Man with Dropsy
We do not know what this man’s motivation was for being there. His illness was one that caused fluid build up in the lower parts of his legs which is quite painful and debilitating.
We do know that the Pharisees thought that a person in such a condition was a sinner and not typically welcome around their “class of people.” We see no evidence of the Pharisee or any other person trying to keep him away or kick him out after he got into the dinner. In fact, it seems he was put in a very prominent place to draw Jesus’ and everyone else’s attention to him.
Therefore, we can conclude that this man was invited by the Pharisee but not for charitable reasons. The Pharisee further reveals his motive in having this man there. He cares nothing for those that are hurting. He uses the poor and the weak to try to improve his own position.
Further, this man cared more about the financial gain from an animal, and the life of an animal, more than the life of another human created in the image of God!
Why would Jesus come to a dinner party where He knew there would be conflict? What motive could He have?
First of all, Jesus is not scared of these men. But more importantly, Jesus knew there would be a man there that needed Him.
Jesus came to heal the man with dropsy.
Jesus took no regard for Himself. He came to earth to ultimately die for our sins and be raised for our justification, but His earthly ministry was also to help others who could not help themselves.
Oh, that we could have the same motive as Jesus in everything we do! Let us think of others before ourselves in all that we say or do.