Sermon #103                                                  Luke Sermons


     Title:          A Day For Mercy

     Text:          Luke 14:1-6

     Subject:     The Healing of The Man with Dropsy

     Date:         Sunday Evening—August 10, 2001

     Tape #       X-73b

     Readings:   Rex Bartley and Ron wood



The Lord God declares by the prophet Isaiah…


(Isa 58:13-14)  If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: (14) Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.


Our all-glorious Savior made the sabbath a delight for many while he was upon the earth, and continues to make the gospel sabbath that the old, legal sabbath portrayed a delight to sinners to this day.


Christ is our Sabbath, and we find delight in him. When a sinner is turned from his way, from his sin, from the pleasure of his depraved heart, and from this world to the Lord Jesus Christ, finding mercy, grace, salvation, and rest in him, he finds that Christ, in whom he rests, is a delight, a luxury, and that faith in him is an honor. Indeed, all who trust Christ, delight themselves in him, triumph over all their foes in him, and shall at last obtain the full heritage of the heavenly Canaan, called here “the heritage of Jacob.” “For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”


During the time of our Lord’s earthly ministry the sabbath day was used as a day for healing. By his example, our Savior displayed that the Old Testament sabbath day was intended and designed by our God to portray this day of grace.


(Luke 14:1)  "And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him.”


The Jews commonly held great, lavish feasts on their sabbath day. On this occasion our Lord was invited to the house of one of the chief of the Pharisees, one of the Sanhedrim, one of the primary, best known of that band of self-righteous legalists.


Our Lord was not invited to the Pharisee’s house out of courteousy, but because these fine, law-keeping, sabbath-keeping religionists had hatched a plan to trap the Master. So “they watched him.”


(v. 2) “And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy.”


These good, kind religious men baited their trap by setting a certain man before the Savior who had “the dropsy.


This condition is accompanied by swelling, scanty urine, poor appetite, sluggishness, and debility. The swelling usually begins in the feet and ankles and proceeds up the legs towards the abdomen. It is fairly common among diabetics. In addition to the swelling, the bladder functions poorly, a person loses his appetite and becomes very sluggish. His swollen limbs become debilitating. After a while, it becomes obvious that he is terribly sick and will soon die if something is not done to help him.


When sulfuric acid is generated in the body, it unites with water and causes the swelling. This produces heat, which expands the capillaries. The pressure forces the serum through the walls of the blood vessels, producing inflammation and dropsy.


It is interesting that only Luke, the physician, records this miracle performed by our Lord. Perhaps he did so because in his day, any man found in the condition of this man was doomed to a slow, painful death. There was no cure for him, at least no cure that could be wrought by the hands of men.


These men brought this poor, dying wretch to the Pharisee’s house for no other reason than to entrap the Son of God. They cared nothing for him. As religion always does, they were simply using him for their own purposes. But it is written…


(Psa 76:10)  "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain."


And their wrath soon showed forth our Savior’s praise. These devils were but vassals by whom the Lord of glory was pleased to bring a certain, chosen, dying man to him, that he might show in that man the wondrous, saving power of his mercy, love and grace.


(v. 3) “And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?”


Though they never spoke a word, the Savior answered them. He answered their thoughts. They were not merely dealing with a man. They were not attempting to trick a mere prophet. They were dealing with the God of Glory, trying to lay a trap for the omnipotent, omniscient God, and he lets them know it. The Lord Jesus knew exactly what they were up to. He asked them, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?”


(v. 4) And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go;”


They held their peace because they dared not answer. They were trapped by their own trap. They dared not say anything that might show any agreement with the Master. They could not say, “yes,” without consenting to what he was about to do. And they could not say “no,” without denying that works of mercy were permitted on the sabbath day by Moses. Indeed, the sabbath day was, as I said in the beginning of this message, designed to portray this great gospel day in which we live, this day of mercy.


Once the Master had shamed these babblers into silence, he took the man with the dropsy and healed him. He who could dry up the Red Sea, calm the waves of the raging Galilee, and bring water out of a rock, had no difficulty drawing a little water from this man’s body. Immediately, the swollen limbs were made whole, perfectly healthy. Then the, who was the real Master of Ceremonies in this Pharisee’s house, dismissed the man from the table and company and the company of his foes, and he went home perfectly cured.


What a picture this is of our Savior’s works of grace in chosen, redeemed sinners!


·       He took him!

·       He healed him!

·       He let him go!


(v. 5) “And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?”


Again, our Master answered the unspoken quibbles of this cruel, merciless, religious crowd that hated him, hated God, and hated men. They were obviously incensed by what he had done, incensed that a poor, dying man was made whole on the sabbath day. Yet, not one of them would allow his own ox or ass to drown on the sabbath day, if he could help it. Our Lord’s obvious, bold insinuation was this.—You gentlemen obviously care much more for your property, for your own beasts than you do for a human being!


(v. 6) “And they could not answer him again to these things.”


Did you ever notice how often our Lord chose to perform his miracles of mercy upon poor, needy souls on the sabbath day? In the gospels, we are given six specific cases of cures wrought on the sabbath day. I need not remind you that man was created on the sixth day. Six is the number of man. Our Lord, by performing these six cures on the sabbath day, seems to be saying, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.”


1. The case before us in Luke 14 is one.

2.    On the sabbath day our Savior cast the devil out of a man (Luke 4:31-37).


(Luke 4:31-37)  "And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. {32} And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power. {33} And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, {34} Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God. {35} And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not. {36} And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. {37} And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about."


·       Here is the cure of a man who was determined not to be cured. He was in such a horrible state that the devil within him cried out to the Son of God, “Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth?


·       Here is a display of our Savior’s power over Satan and the demons of hell.


3.    Luke 6 tells us of our Lord healing a man’s withered hand on the sabbath day (Luke 6:6-11).


(Luke 6:6-11)  "And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered. {7} And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. {8} But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. {9} Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it? {10} And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other. {11} And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus."


·       Here is a poor, helpless man. His right hand, the hand of honor, strength and labor, was completely withered. And he knew it. Unlike the man in Luke 5, this man portrays a sinner who is at least aware that he is a poor, helpless sinner.


·       He was singled out and separated from the crowd by the Master.


·       He was healed by a personal word from Christ being spoken to him—"Stretch forth thy hand." He had no ability to do that; but he did. When Christ speaks, the sinner who cannot believe, being commanded by omnipotent grace, believes on the Son of God.


·       This man did not ask the Savior to heal him. He had no thought of being healed. He knew his hand was withered, but fully expected it to stay that way. Then, the Son of God stepped into the synagogue and spoke to him!


4.    Turn to Luke 13, and watch the Savior work again. Here he heals a woman who had been plagued with a crippling infirmity for eighteen years (Luke 13:10-17).


(Luke 13:10-17)  "And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. {11} And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. {12} And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. {13} And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. {14} And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. {15} The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? {16} And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? {17} And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him."


5.    In John 5, we see our Savior healing a poor, impotent man, a man who had been impotent for a long, long time (John 5:1-9).


(John 5:1-9)  "After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. {2} Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. {3} In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. {4} For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. {5} And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. {6} When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? {7} The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. {8} Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. {9} And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath."


·       He was just one among many others just like him.

·       He was filled with religious superstition that kept him from looking for any help from any other source, but his magical pool.

·       He had been in this condition for 38 years!

·       He was the object of God’s everlasting love.

·       The Lord Jesus saw him.

·       He knew him.

·       He asked him a question.—“Wilt thou be made whole?

·       Then he said unto him, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.”

·       And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath."


6.    In John 9 our Lord heals a man born blind, again on the sabbath day (John 9:1-14).


(John 9:1-14)  "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. {2} And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? {3} Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. {4} I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. {5} As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. {6} When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, {7} And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. {8} The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? {9} Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. {10} Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? {11} He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. {12} Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not. {13} They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. {14} And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes."


There are three special, very instructive features about all of these six miracles that ought to catch our attention.


·       First, they were all performed on the sabbath day.—This day is the day of salvation. Oh, may it be for you the day of salvation. Then, you will call Christ our Sabbath and this his day of grace a delight.


(Isa 49:8)  "Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;"


(2 Cor 6:1-2)  "We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. {2} (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)"


·       Second, each of these wonders was performed by Christ alone.


·       Third, not one of these poor souls sought the Lord’s mercy.


The possessed, man entreated Christ to leave him alone (Luke 4:34). The man with the withered hand did not think of cure (Luke 6:6). The infirm woman had no hope of healing (Luke 13:11). The man with the dropsy did not ask for the blessing (Luke 14:2). The impotent man did not seek Christ (John 5:5). It was a thing unheard of that the eyes of a man born blind should be opened, and therefore he did not expect it (John 9:32).


But the Lord of the Sabbath is not bound by men. Omnipotent grace is never withered. The arm of the Lord never waits for the will of the sinner (Rom. 9:15).


The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world to save chosen sinners; and save them he will. He has redeemed them by his precious blood. He will save them by his omnipotent mercy. And he will do it without their aid, without their work, without their will, even without their desire, freely!


Physicians never come to the sick until someone sends for them. Christ came to us, who sent not for him, which made him say, "I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not" (Isa. 65:1 ). He came to us, before we ever thought of coming to him. He sought us long before we sought him. He found us before we ever dreamed of finding him.


When the physician does come, he expects to be paid for his services, whether or not they are effectual. "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). And, paid all the charge of his long journey.


The great Physician now is here,

The sympathizing Jesus!

He speaks the drooping heart to cheer—

O hear the voice of Jesus!


Your many sins are all forgiven.

O hear the voice of Jesus!

Go on you way in peace to heaven,

And wear a crown with Jesus!


All glory to the dying Lamb!

I now believe in Jesus.

I love the blessed Savior’s name,

I love the name of Jesus.


And when to that bright world above

We rise to be with Jesus,

We’ll sing around the throne of love,

His name, the name of Jesus!