Luke 6:6 On another sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. 7 The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. 8 Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” He got up and stood there. 9 Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 After looking around at all of them, he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.
We tend to give the Pharisees a hard time about their focus on the letter of the law, but those guys had a job to do. The OT reading today in the Moravian Daily Texts was from Deuteronomy. It made very clear that the Israelites needed to follow the letter of the law, diligently, lest they incur the wrath of God. In Israel’s history there were numerous times when the people became lax in following the law and really awful things happened as a result. God would send plagues and famine and opposing armies that killed thousands by the sword.
So when the Pharisees see Jesus violating the law of God – they were extremely anxious about that. Based on history, continuing in disobedience could lead to great suffering and even death from God the Father. I’m reminded that I probably need to cut the Pharisees a little slack.