He left that place and entered their synagogue; a man was there with a withered hand, and they asked him, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath?” so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Suppose one of you has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath; will you not lay hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a human being than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and it was restored, as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.
When Jesus became aware of this, he departed. Many crowds followed him, and he cured all of them, and he ordered them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
‘Here is my servant, whom I have chosen,
my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and He will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not wrangle or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
He will not break a bruised reed
or quench a smoldering wick
until he brings justice to victory.
And in his name the Gentiles will hope.’
Ah, the first time the Pharisees start plotting against Jesus. And over something so ridiculous too! What a dumb question, is it lawful to heal of the Sabbath? No. If a dying man comes to Jesus on the Sabbath, He’s just going to sit there, twiddle His thumbs, and let the man die! Idiot. It is always better to help someone! That’s just common sense right there.
And Jesus KNEW. I didn’t realize that before. I wonder How he knew. Did He hear them talking? Did someone else hear them talking and come tell Him? Did He just perceive? The fact that He knew and He told the crowds not to tell anyone about him (and those two things happen within the same sentence) does back up the theory that Jesus wanted His doings to remain secret to avoid persecution. Not that I think He was trying to get out of it, but that He wanted to stay on Earth for as long as possible in order to help more people. But I don’t know, that theory never felt quite right to me.
It’s been a while since Matthew quoted Isaiah, so I guess we were due for a long, mysterious one. I guess it means Jesus’s message came not from shouting and rhetoric, but from His actions. He healed everyone, including the Gentiles! He sets the example for us to follow. We aught to help everyone who needs it, including non-believers. People will be won to Christ not through our persuasive arguments, but through our actions. When treat treat people the way Jesus did, they won’t be able to help but be touched.