Jesus Heals On The Sabbath: How And Why It Should Inspire Us

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Published by Kimberly Wall


Co-Founder, Disciple Group Leader, Author

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According to Sabbath law, any work or activity was strictly prohibited on the seventh day. Why, then, did Jesus heal in the synagogue on this sacred day?

The Bible recounts numerous instances where Jesus healed individuals, even when it meant going against established interpretations and religious traditions, including when Jesus healed on the Sabbath. This bold action sparked debates among religious leaders and raised questions about their understanding of God’s law and the role of Christ.

By delving into these narratives, we can gain valuable insights into how Jesus challenged societal norms and emphasized compassion over legalistic interpretations.

Jesus Healed A Man With A Withered Hand

The Gospels record several occasions when Jesus performed several acts of physical and spiritual healing[1], including casting an “unclean spirit” out of a man and healing a man born blind, showcasing his divine power and authority. One such instance involved healing a man with a withered hand in a synagogue, a Jewish place of worship, on the Sabbath.

In a way, the man’s condition symbolized physical and spiritual brokenness. Through his miraculous touch, Christ restored both physical and spiritual wholeness to the disabled man, despite the opposition from the Pharisees.

The Pharisees’ Objection

Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

— Luke 13:15–17

The Pharisees, being the supreme religious leaders at that time, were critical of Jesus’ actions. They believed that healing constituted work prohibited on the Sabbath.

At this, the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. Their reaction highlighted their rigid interpretation of religious laws. They question the appropriateness of healing on the Sabbath, accusing Jesus of breaking the law.

In response to the Pharisees’ objections, Jesus defends his actions by explaining the true purpose of the Sabbath. He emphasizes that the Sabbath was intended for the well-being of humanity, and acts of compassion should not be bound by legalistic constraints.

Disciples Question The Cause Of The Man’s Withered Hand

After witnessing the healing, some disciples questioned why the man had a withered hand in the first place. This raised theological questions about sin and suffering in relation to physical ailments. It prompted deeper discussions about faith, redemption, and God’s plan for humanity.

This inquiry sparked profound conversations among the disciples regarding faith and its connection to healing. They contemplated whether one’s spiritual beliefs could play a role in physical restoration. The disciples sought to understand if redemption from sin could also lead to redemption from physical ailments.

As they delved into these discussions, they pondered God’s grand plan for humanity. They grappled with understanding why people experience various forms of suffering and how it fits into God’s greater purpose. These contemplations challenged their beliefs and pushed them to seek deeper insights into divine wisdom.

lit candles on metal shelves and jesus heals on the sabbath

People Recognized The Healed Man

The healed man’s neighbors were astonished by his transformation after being healed by Jesus. They witnessed firsthand how his life was changed by this miraculous event. The recognition further spread news about Jesus’ extraordinary abilities.

It is truly incredible how Jesus had such a profound impact on not only individuals but also entire communities. Through healing this man, he not only restored his physical well-being but also brought hope and wonder into the lives of those who knew him. The ripple effect of this miraculous act reached far beyond just one person; it touched the hearts and minds of everyone who witnessed it.

Jesus’ ability to heal on the Sabbath challenged societal norms and religious leaders at the time. Yet his actions spoke louder than any opposition. His goodness and compassion shone through as he disregarded rules to help those in need.

Jesus Heals On The Sabbath: Why It Is Significant

Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.

— Mark 3:4

Jesus healing on the Sabbath in the synagogue carried great significance, revealing his authority over religious laws and traditions. It showcased a profound message of compassion and love for others, surpassing the rigid observance of the Pharisees. By challenging societal expectations, Jesus illuminated God’s grace in a powerful way, demonstrating the true essence of the gospel.

  • Authority over religious laws: Healing on the Sabbath demonstrated that Jesus had the power to override established regulations. He showed that his divine authority superseded traditional interpretations of the law.
  • Compassion above legalistic observance: Through healing on the Sabbath, Jesus emphasized the importance of caring for others rather than adhering strictly to rules. He prioritized showing mercy and kindness over rigid adherence to religious practices. In Luke 14:5, he pointed out, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?”
  • Challenging societal expectations: By healing on the sacred day of rest, Jesus challenged society’s norms and beliefs. He defied conventional wisdom and revealed a deeper understanding of God’s intentions.
  • Revealing God’s grace: Healing on the Sabbath highlighted God’s abundant grace towards all people. It showcased how God’s love extends beyond legalistic boundaries, offering hope and restoration even in unexpected moments.
rosary on top of an opened bible book and jesus heals on the sabbath


The story of Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath carries profound significance and lessons for believers. It showcases Jesus’ compassion for those in need and challenges societal norms that prioritize rules over human well-being.

The incident where Jesus healed a man with a withered hand demonstrates his power to bring about miraculous healing, even in the face of opposition and threat.

Reflecting on this story prompts us to consider our own attitudes toward rules and traditions. It urges us to prioritize compassion, understanding, and love above all else. By following Jesus’ example, we can make a difference in people’s lives and contribute to building a more caring society.

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