To Save Life or to Destroy It?

“To Save Life or to Destroy It?”
Luke 6:6-11 in a couplet
Monday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
©️2021 by Gloria M. Chang

On another sabbath he went into the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him. But he realized their intentions and said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up and stand before us.” And he rose and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” Looking around at them all, he then said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so and his hand was restored. But they became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

Luke 6:6-11

Jesus’ either/or question in Luke 6:9 is put very plainly in the Greek. The Revised Standard Version preserves the word order:

And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” 

The human heart is designed to follow the natural principle “do good and avoid evil” spontaneously. Sin is irrational, as the apostle Paul noted: “For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want” (Romans 7:19). 

The scribes and Pharisees failed to rejoice at the healing of their brother, and instead became “enraged” (Luke 6:11). Other translations say “filled with madness,” “senseless rage,” “mindless rage,” “fury,” and “anger.” The word Luke used suggests irrationality, from anoia—“no mind.” 

The heart of Christ, filled with compassion for the suffering, and free of envy and bitterness, is a healthy, whole, Spirit-filled mind. The healing of the man with a withered hand is a sign of full restoration in grace—healing of body, mind, soul, spirit, heart, thoughts and emotions. 

Related posts:

The Heart of the Sabbath
Out of Heart, Out of Mind
Christ Unlocks the Kingdom

3 Replies to “To Save Life or to Destroy It?”

  1. Dear GMC, Your reflection is another reason why I think of my bipolar as a blessing. I pray for all those with mental illness to give Jesus a chance to give them a healthy, whole, Spirit-filled mind. Our Lady of China pray for us.

    Whether sickly or healthy,
    when heart and mind are given over to Jesus,
    He will heal us.

      1. Dear GMC, Thank you for your reflections. You may never see the fruits of your labors. You won’t know how a word or a kindness affects another person, even another generation. For all that you do, thank you and be assured of my prayers always.

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