Friday, 29 October 2010

Do the right thing and you will be good.

The scene described in the Gospel text is the third scene describing a healing on the Sabbath (see 6,6-11; 13,10-17). However, in this scene the setting is a meal rather than in the synagogue. The issue, however, is the same namely whether a person’s needs takes precedence over rules and regulations.
The man in the story suffers from dropsy or edema, which is “the abnormal accumulation of fluids in the body”. It is a symptom of serious physical problems. Unlike in the previous Sabbath healings, here there is no dialogue with the man (as there was with the woman in 13,12) or questioning by the Pharisees (as there was in 6,8; 13,14). Instead Jesus poses the question of whether one is allowed to heal on the Sabbath. The healing is narrated simply, and hence the focus is removed from it and placed on the second question of Jesus, which is connected with the first. Since there is the mention of “son/child” who has fallen into well, the point seems to be the urgency of the situation and not as in the case of the question asked in 13,15 where the argument is from the lesser to the greater. The silence of Jesus’ opponents to both questions concedes the victory to him. The point has been made; human need even if not urgent takes precedence over rules and regulations.

Do you “try to be good” or do you “do the right thing”?

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