With as much animosity as the Pharisees had for Jesus, they invited Him to dinner a lot. I can’t tell if these dinners are just a way to get close enough to Jesus to find things with which to discredit Him, or if they are customary for civilized debate in that day, or if they are social obligations for these religious elite to be seen with this famous teacher when He comes through their towns. This time the host is a “ruler of the Pharisees” (v. 1), possibly a member of the Sanhedrin—the ruling council of the Jews. Whatever the reasons for inviting Jesus to this dinner, the lawyers and Pharisees were watching Him closely.
Jesus gives them a lesson in honoring the Sabbath. Jesus poses a question about the law to the experts of the law, one He has contended with the Pharisees before: “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?”. One of the people at the dinner (though probably just an observor, not a guest) was afflicted with dropsy, or edema, which is where fluid swells up parts of the body. Jesus calls the man over, heals him, then sends him away.
Then He asks the dinner guests if they would rescue a son or ox from a deep hole on the Sabbath. Surely they would, in spite of their traditions against doing work such as lifting something out of a well. But they are so prideful that they don’t even answer Him, either “yes” or “no”. Even their own traditions would say that medical treatment is lawful on the Sabbath if it’s necessary to save someone’s life. And yet, they aren’t even willing to say that much. They don’t want to admin that Jesus might possibly be right about anything, because they can’t accept being wrong about any little thing.
There’s a lot of that attitude in the world today. Tribalism, us-versus-them, whatever you want to call it. If an idea comes from someone in the wrong camp, it is treated with suspicion and hostility, even if there is some merit to it, even if it’s something you’d agree with if someone else had brought it up. Instead, be humble yet discerning. Listen and be teachable, while always making sure what you hear lines up with the Scriptures. Right and wrong do not always line up with what you already agree with.
Help us to recognize and admit when we are wrong, so that we may repent of our faults and grow in truth.