The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 109

The Perean Ministry ~ Part 3

In our last post, we followed Yeshua as He left Yerushalayim to go to Perea. In this post, we continue to examine His Perean Ministry as He Heals on the Shabbat and Continues to Teach in Parables.

The Perean Ministry ~ Part 3

One Shabbat, Yeshua went to eat in the home of one of the leading P’rushim, and they were watching him closely. In front of him was a man whose body was swollen with fluid. Yeshua spoke up and asked the Torah experts and P’rushim, “Does the Torah allow healing on Shabbat or not?” But they said nothing. So, taking hold of him, He healed him and sent him away. To them He said, Which of you, if a son or an ox falls into a well, will hesitate to haul him out on Shabbat?” And to these things they could give no answer.  [1]

“Is healing permitted on Shabbat?” The answer to modern halakhah (rabbinic law) is threefold:

  1. On Shabbat, healing to save a life is not only permitted but a duty.
  2. Caring for the seriously ill (e.g., those with a high fever or pain affecting the whole body) is allowed within certain constraints.
  3. Treating minor ailments is prohibited by g’zerah (rabbinical decree) – the reason being that most treatments require grinding to prepare medicine, and grinding is a banned form of work.

However, since Yeshua did not use medicine and hence no grinding was done, a case could have been made – in the fluid halakhic environment of the first century – that no violation had taken place.  [2]

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

When Yeshua noticed how the guests were choosing for themselves the best seats at the table, He told them this parable: “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, don’t sit down in the best seat; because if there is someone more important than you who has been invited,

Proverbs 25:6–7 gives the same advice, some of it in the same language.

the person who invited both of you might come and say to you, ‘Give this man your place.’ Then you will be humiliated as you go to take the least important place. 10 Instead, when you are invited, go and sit in the least important place; so that when the one who invited you comes, he will say to you, ‘Go on up to a better seat.’ Then you will be honored in front of everyone sitting with you.

In contrast to the shame of having to move from the place of honor to a lower place, a guest who chooses a less distinguished seat will be honored when the host elevates them to a better position. Yeshua’s discussion has little to do with dinner etiquette. He is calling for His followers to show humility in every aspect of life – to put the needs of others first and act as a servant to all.

11 Because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but everyone who humbles himself will be exalted. [3]

In our next post, Yeshua Continues to Minister in the Perean Province.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  Luke 14:1–6.
[2]  David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, Luke 6:9.
[3]  Luke 14:7–11.

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