So, Jesus knows that the Pharisees are angry. He knows they are plotting against him. Still, the crowd gathers around him, pressing him for healing. He can’t say no. Indeed, he doesn’t even take time to eat. His family and friends are growing concerned about him.“Then he spoke to the people: “What kind of action suits the Sabbath best? Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless?” No one said a word.
He looked them in the eye, one after another, angry now, furious at their hard-nosed religion. He said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” He held it out—it was as good as new! The Pharisees got out as fast as they could, sputtering about how they would join forces with Herod’s followers and ruin him.
The Pharisees – whom Peterson generously describes as “the religious scholars from Jerusalem” – had begun to spread rumors that Jesus was using some sort of magic, some dark art, something maleficent and evil, to heal people. Which is when Jesus explodes.
“Listen to this carefully. I’m warning you. There’s nothing done or said that can’t be forgiven. But if you persist in your slanders against God’s Holy Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives, sawing off the branch on which you’re sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives.” He gave this warning because they were accusing him of being in league with Evil.
Healing miracles are a great mystery precisely because they are from God.
There's nothing you can make that can't be made
No one you can save that can't be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn to be you in time
You’ll be cutting yourself off from the Source of all life and all miracles. And, while God will always love you and always forgive you, you may find it hard to forgive yourself. Especially when you realize what you’ve been missing.
What would happen to you - to this church - to your family - to your neighborhood - to your town and this state - to this country and this world - if we woke up each morning committed to doing better? If we believed that our positive attitude could make a difference?
Quaker educator and author Parker Palmer has a term for this. It's called "functional atheism".
If you believe in God, you'll take a risk. Do something that breaks or bends a rule because it helps another person. Just as Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath.