A man with a paralysed hand (Matthew 12: 9–14)

Some of the Pharisees wanted to accuse Jesus of doing wrong, so they tried to trap him by asking if it was against the law to heal on the Sabbath.

The teaching of the Pharisees was that only if someone’s life was in danger was it permitted to give medical assistance on the Sabbath.

Jesus taught that the right thing to do is to help someone in need, that human need is more important than the law. He uses the example of a sheep falling into a pit. He says that a Pharisee would save the sheep and points out that human life is superior to a sheep.

There is no mention of faith in this miracle.

The Pharisees failed to trick Jesus so they began to make plans to kill him.

The Sabbath day

At the time of Jesus, Jews were very strict in following the Law of Moses. The third of the Ten Commandments states “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.”

Today Jews believe that in keeping holy the Sabbath day they are showing special thanks to God for creating the world. God rested on the seventh day. Jews believe they should follow the example of God.

It is the one day when the whole family comes together to worship God in the synagogue. No work is allowed on this day.

Should a Christian never work on a Sunday?

Arguments for:

  • Christians should obey the commandments and keep holy the Sabbath day.
  • God worked for six days and rested on the seventh – Christians should do the same.
  • Sunday is the Sabbath day for Christians – a day to worship and spend time with family.
  • Some people work on Sundays as a way of making extra money. This is putting money before God.

Arguments against:

  • As long as you take time to worship God it doesn’t matter which day of the week it is.
  • Some people have no choice but to work as their job involves saving lives, eg medical staff have to work Sundays.
  • Some people may have to work on a Sunday in order to provide for their family, they may have no other choice.