This is round two in Jesus' fight with the Pharisees over the Sabbath in Mth. 12. In verse 13 he heals the man's crippled hand, by the power of God, before their very eyes in open defiance against their trumped up hypocritical interpretation of the Lord's Sabbath command. Here's what I had to say about it yesterday morning.
And now you would suspect that the Pharisees would have a time of serious self-inspection. You would think that they would go away pondering why it was that Jesus was vindicated before their very eyes. You would think that they would go away wondering if he was right about their hypocrisy. I mean, c’mon, you’d have to be absolutely mad not to at least consider what you’ve seen and heard. But, that’s exactly what they are…they’re mad. They’re not a drool on yourself, repeat yourself, talk gibberish, and think you’re Blackbeard the pirate kind of mad. They’re worse. They’re a hate God kind of mad. They’re a “I refuse to be wrong even when I am clearly wrong” kind of mad. They’re stubborn and proud and no matter what the evidence may say they will not accept that they have been wrong. And if they can’t trap Jesus and if they can’t confuse Jesus and if they can’t stop Jesus, by George, then they’ll kill him.
Verse 14 says, “But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus."
This reminds me of the 5th question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism. The Catechism asks if it is possible to keep the law perfectly and responds, "No. I have a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbor." Certainly the Pharisees exemplify here those natural tendencies that reside within ever fallen sinful human heart.
9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.