A Man With Dropsy Healed

Luke 14:1-6 – 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. 2 And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. 3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? 4 And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; 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? 6 And they could not answer him again to these things. 


I.    It is amazing to me that Christ was offered hospitality on the Sabbath day by the Pharisees. 

A.     Luke 7:34-50 records that Christ ate in the house of a Pharisee. 

1.       Luke 7:31-35. 

a.       Right after verse 30, where the Bible records the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, Christ asked, …Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? 

b.       Jesus declares that regardless of what is done for them, they will not hear. 

c.       The Pharisees and Lawyers did not like John the Baptist, neither do they like Christ. 

d.       Immediately after this statement, one of the Pharisees asked Christ to eat with him. 

2.       Luke 7:36-50. 

a.       While they were eating, a woman who was a sinner (a prostitute) came into the house, and stood behind Christ, weeping, and wiping his feet with her hair. 

b.       The Pharisee thought within him that is Christ knew this woman was a sinner (a prostitute) he would not allow her to touch him. 

c.       Christ then remarked to the Pharisees the parable of the debtors, declaring the woman had been forgiven much, therefore she loved much, as opposed to the Pharisee, who had not been forgiven at all, therefore he loved not at all. 

d.       Christ declared the woman’s sins forgiven in Luke 7:48, which caused confusion to those at the table. 

1.)    If the woman’s sins had already been forgiven (verse 41-42), why did Christ forgive her sins again? 

2.)    He didn’t, rather gave assurance of her being forgiven in verse 48 and 50. 

3.)    Christ wants us to know we have been forgiven, because then we will gladly and faithfully serve him, as related in Luke 8:1-3, when faithful women ministered to Christ of their own substance. 

B.     Luke 11:37-54 records another instance of Christ eating in the house of a Pharisee. 

1.       Jesus had just finished teaching his disciples to pray (Luke 11:1-13), casting out a devil (Luke 11:14-16), teaching sound doctrine (Luke 11:17-36) when a Pharisees asked him to eat with him. 

2.       Luke 11:38 – the Pharisee marveled (wondered about) that Christ did not wash his hands before he ate, which was a continual tradition of the Pharisees. 

a.       Luke 11:39-44 – Christ took this opportunity to rebuke the Pharisees because they more careful with their own laws and traditions than they were with the “real” law of Moses. 

b.       Luke 11:46-52 – When lawyers added they were offended because of these saying, Jesus stated they were as guilty as the Pharisees of forsaking the truth of God’s word, while establishing their own laws and traditions. 

c.       Proverbs 15:1 states, A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. 

1.)    Christ knew the things he was saying would stir up the anger of the wicked Pharisees, but he said what he said to give them the truth. 

2.)    The truth did not set them free, because they did not accept it, but rejected the truth and continued into perdition. 

d.       Luke 11:53-54 – The result of this rebuking was not repentance by the Pharisees, but a grim determination to trick Christ so they could accuse him. 

C.     I Corinthians 9:19-22 reveals that Paul became all things to all men that he might gain some.

1.       Paul is following the principles established by Christ. 

2.       Matthew 5:14 – Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 

a.       Christians are not supposed to isolate themselves from the world, but we are to be lights in the world. 

b.       While Christians are not supposed to isolate themselves from the world, we are supposed to assemble ourselves together with other believers in the Lord’s church, which is a part of our spiritual renewal. 

D.     The chief Pharisee watched Christ. 

1.       The Chief Pharisee. 

a.       This is a chief Pharisee, not just an ordinary Pharisee. 

b.       Luke 7:36 records that Christ ate in the house of an ordinary Pharisee. 

c.       Luke 11:37 records that a certain Pharisee asked Christ to dine with him. 

d.       Christ is not “gaining in popularity or status” by all these invitations, but is being “set up” for destruction. 

2.       Christ was watched. 

a.       The Pharisees did not intend to get better acquainted with Christ, as a “normal” person would when they eat with friends, rather they intended to fulfill Luke 11:54, Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him. 

b.       Proverbs 23:1-2 instructs us to be careful of desiring what the wicked have, because ungodly possessions soon lead to eternal destruction. 


II.    The man with dropsy. 

A.     Dropsy is an antiquated term referring to the swelling of soft tissues due to the accumulation of excess water.

1.      In years gone by, a person might have been said to have dropsy.

2.      Today one would be more descriptive and specify the cause.

3.      Thus, the person might have edema due to congestive heart failure. 

B.     It is very likely this man was a “plant” used by the Pharisees so they could find some means to accuse Christ. 

1.      The words “before him” indicates the Pharisees placed the man in front of Christ, so he would have to see him. 

a.       These wicked Pharisees knew Christ would have compassion and heal him, therefore they invited Christ to eat with them on the Sabbath day. 

b.      Even if the man knew he was a “plant”, he was very willing to be used, because he knew he would be healed by Christ. 

2.      Christ will heal the man, not because he fell in the trap laid by the Pharisees, but to show them the power of God once again. 

a.       Jesus often healed people when nobody was looking, therefore avoiding notoriety. 

b.      John 9 – the man blind from birth was healed when Christ was not present (at the pool of Siloam), and saved in the presence of Christ. 

c.       Mark 9:25 – Jesus hurried to heal the demon possessed boy when he saw the multitude running together. 

3.      Hebrews 12:3 states, For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 

a.       It is necessary for us to consider how Christ allowed sinners to continue against him, even as they are also against us. 

b.      There is a difference between sinners taking advantage of us, and us allowing them to investigate us for the sake of the truth. 


III.    The healing of the man with dropsy. 

A.     It is amazing that Christ continually heals those with physical diseases, deformities, and affliction, often without their knowledge; but never against their wills, yet does not heal those with spiritual diseases until they repent and believe, because they do not see their sins. 

B.     Jesus brought up the subject of healing the man with dropsy. 

1.      …Jesus answering… 

a.       The Bible does not record that the Jews asked Jesus a question, but Jesus knew they had a question in their minds. 

b.      The lawyers and Pharisees had invited Jesus to eat on the Sabbath and placed the man with dropsy before him, knowing Jesus would heal him because Jesus healed everybody. 

c.       Luke 14:5 declares that Jesus …answered them… 

1.)    There was no verbal question asked by the lawyers and Pharisees here either, but they had a question on their minds. 

2.)    They were wondering how Christ could justify himself, as they believed he had broken the law of God in healing the man on the Sabbath. 

3.)    They did not realize Jesus had not broken the law of God, but their law. 

2.      Jesus knew it was the Sabbath day, and knew the Pharisees were watching for any occasion to accuse him. 

3.      Jesus asked if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. 

a.       Luke 6:7 – The question of healing on the Sabbath day has come up before. 

1.)    The hypocritical Pharisees know the answer Christ will give, but ask again. 

2.)    Many know the truth, but continually ask dumb questions, hoping the answer will change. 

b.      Luke 13:14 – The ruler of the Synagogue answered the healing of the woman bowed over for 18 years that the people should come to the temple any day except the Sabbath to be healed. 

4.      Luke 14:3 – Jesus asked the lawyers and the Pharisees. 

a.       It is no accident the chief Pharisee asked Christ and the lawyers to come to his house for a meal. 

b.      Jewish lawyers are those men who deal with the law of Moses, but have inserted so many of their own rules and regulations and definitions, they have disregarded the plain teaching of the Moses’ law. 

5.      The reply Jesus gives is the same, but the Pharisees will not hear. 

a.       Matthew 12:11-12 – Concerning the man with the withered hand (referred to in Luke 6:7), Jesus asks if any man has a sheep that falls into the pit if he will get the animal out of the pit on the Sabbath. 

b.      Luke 13:15-16 – Concerning the bowed over woman who was healed on the Sabbath, Christ asks if the Pharisees would feed and water their laboring animals on their Sabbath day of rest. 

c.       Luke 14:5 – Concerning the healing of the man with dropsy, Christ asks the Pharisees if they would get their animals out of the ditch on the Sabbath. 

C.     Christ asks, …Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? 

1.      Jesus is not referring to the laws of the Jews, but to the law of God. 

2.      Here is a classical example of how men change the definitions of words, therefore fall into condemnation. 

a.       Salvation by grace. 

1.)    The Bible teaches salvation by grace through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. 

2.)    Men change the definition of “grace” from “unmerited favor” to “favor earned by good deeds”. 

b.      Church.

1.)    The Bible teaches a church is a called out assembly of believers who have covenanted together to worship and serve God. 

2.)    The world teaches a church is all the saved – of all the earth, or of all time. 

c.       Not understanding the definitions of words can lead to eternal destruction. 

1.)    It is very important to let the Bible define the words used in the Bible. 

2.)    Do not use the dictionary to define words, because the dictionary gives the common usage of words, which changes with time. 

3.)    It is no accident the Bible was written in Hebrew and Greek, dead languages, whose definitions of words do not change. 

3.      I doubt Christ expected an answer. 

a.       He already knew they were waiting for some way to accuse him. 

b.      They did not care if their accusation was true or false. 

c.       They only desired to justify their thoughts against him.  [1]

D.     The Pharisees do not answer. 

1.      They held their peace. 

a.       They said nothing at all. 

b.      Their words were silent, but they were thinking, therefore Christ replied to their thoughts. 

2.      What would they answer? 

a.       Their own conscience should inform them it was good to heal – any time, any day, any place. 

b.      Everyone of them would rescue their animal, and they knew they would. 

c.       If they would say it was unlawful to heal on the Sabbath day, they would be ashamed, as was the ruler of the Synagogue in Luke 13:17; and the people standing by would rejoice. 

3.      They really do not want to get into a discussion with Christ, or to learn anything from him. 

E.      Christ healed the man. 

1.      There is no record of the reaction of the man who was healed, but it seems reasonable to suggest he was completely overjoyed. 

a.       It seems reasonable to assume the man and his family and all his neighbors were exceedingly glad and rejoiced with him. 

b.      Even though there is no record of all this, it seems safe to assume there was great joy and the reputation of Christ continued to increase. 

2.      There is no record of the method Christ used to heal the man. 

a.       The method Christ used would make no difference. 

b.      The lawyers and Pharisees desire to accuse Christ, not cause any benefit to any man. 

3.      There is no record of whether Christ healed the man in the presence of the Pharisees or whether he took him aside and healed him privately. 

4.      Christ let the man go. 

a.       This passage indicates he was held by the Pharisees and lawyers. 

b.      Christ not only heals the man, but continues his protection by letting him loose from the hold of the Pharisees, whatever that hold is. 


IV.    The Pharisees and lawyers could not answer Christ. 

A.     They were trying to play scripture (spiritual sense) against their man-made laws (un-spiritual sense). 

B.     There are those who try to use scripture against scripture, but they compound their confusion. 

1.      Some say James 2:14-26 (salvation by works) against Ephesians 2:8 (salvation through faith), not realizing both scriptures are true. 

2.      Eternal life (salvation of the spirit) is granted by faith in Christ, and that salvation is revealed by good works. 

C.     Luke 14:7-11 – Christ gives a parable to all that are bidden to the meal of the Pharisees and lawyers. 

1.      Christ tells them to never take the best seat in the house, but take the lowest seat. 

2.      Then when they are bidden to take a higher seat, they will have honor. 

3.      If they are asked to sit in a lower seat, they will receive shame. 

D.     Luke 14:12-14 – Christ spoke to those that invited him to the meal. 

1.      He tells them to invite those that cannot repay with a meal. 

2.      Rewards are not given in this earth, but in the world to come. 

E.      Luke 14:16-24 – Christ answers the person who said the person who is invited to eat bread in the kingdom of God is happy. 

1.      Christ gives the parable of the great supper where he explains the invitation to the meal in the kingdom of God has already been extended, and already refused. 

2.      There are many silly excuses given.  

3.      Therefore the invitation goes out to those that cannot repay. 

4.      This parable is against the Jews, who have refused to believe in Christ, and to the Gentiles, who are the lowest of the low. 

F.      The whole point Jesus is teaching is missed. 

1.      Jesus wants the Jews to understand they have changed the law of God into their own rules and regulations. 

2.      The law of God is given to men so they can see their utter helplessness before an almighty God and repent of their wickedness and trust in his righteousness. 

3.      When the Jews began to define the law of God, they gradually added their own rules and regulations. 

4.      Those rules and regulations did not teach them how wicked they were before a most holy God, but were meant to reflect their own goodness, intelligence and righteousness. 

5.      It is easy to see the longsuffering of Christ as he continually dealt with the Jews, desiring them to repent, but they would not.  [2]

[1] Preached to here 12/16/2007 IBC Sunday Morning

[2] Preached to here 12/16/2007 IBC Sunday evening