Why did Jesus often heal on the Sabbath?

Feb 9, 2023Healing0 comments


Why did Jesus often heal on the Sabbath? Many times healing took place when people came to hear him teach because they heard about him healing others. Often Jesus heals people who are even not expecting it, on the Sabbath. But, why on the Sabbath?

This infuriated the religious leaders

It was at times clearly on purpose, even though it made the religious leaders furious. When we see what hard hearts they had we might think this was reason enough. But Jesus said that He did nothing other than what the Father told Him to do. This means there were many other important reasons for healing in general, and on Sabbath in particular.

Other important reasons

First, Jesus healing on the Sabbath shows God’s will for healing, regardless of when or where. There are always purposes beyond their physical restoration that edifies us to learn. This is why the Holy Spirit compels the Gospel writers to include these Sabbath day healing events.

We need to see what is happening at the same time as their healing. This is because we should have the same things in the mix when God uses us to do the works of Jesus. Three of these things are compassion, purpose, and faith.     


But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Matthew 9:36

The word compassion means to selflessly yearn to help to the point of moving you toward; to do for another, not just feel sympathy or pity for someone. Compassion means to have a passion to come to those in need, even on the Sabbath. When Jesus healed the man born blind, he was showing compassion to someone religious tradition thought not worthy of it. They assumed his sin or his parents’ was the root cause and would disqualify the man from God’s mercy.

Correcting what is lawful on the Sabbath

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. 12 Luke 6:1-12

We see that compassion trumps the Law. Pharisees object to Him doing work on the Sabbath.  But Pharisees are doing harm and ignoring the law of love by the letter of the law, Jesus is keeping the law of love. Jesus teaches in this instance before he heals, but the Pharisees did not listen. They only looked for something they could use against him, watching to see if He would dare heal on the Sabbath.


In addition to correcting their perception of what was lawful on the Sabbath Jesus heals things things they know are impossible to heal, true miracles. A key purpose is to reveal that Jesus is not only Lord of the Sabbath, but he is also the Messiah. A far greater than David is here, doing the miracles that only the Messiah is prophesied to do.

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. John 9:4-7

Here we see another Sabbath day healing. Jesus had to overcome his disciples distancing themselves from compassion by blaming the blind man or his parents for his condition. Actually, he and his parents sinned, but that is not the root cause. The root cause is that the prince of darkness brought this darkness. While it is day, Jesus  must work (even though it is again on the Sabbath). Jesus spat on the ground for two purposes. First, to again demonstrate he was clearly doing work forbidden on the Sabbath. Second, putting clay on the eyes wil require washing the clay. This provides a reason for sending him to the pool Siloam. Jesus is the “sent one” (Messiah). To prove that Jesus is the “sent one” He sent to him to Siloam as that name means sent.

The blind man sees more

Beyond the healing of their flesh, this is the most important reason Jesus heals. It is to proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah.  The blind man was able to see more than with eyes. He recognized and then followed Jesus. Notice that when He heals blind people they can now see where they are going and choose to follow Him. We who are spiritually blind can see this, and receive spiritual healing.

It is by faith

When divine healing takes place the third element we need to look closely at is faith.  In the above passages, we see compassion and a purpose. His compassion moves him to act, and the purpose is to demonstrate that Jesus is Christ.  There mus also be faith present. Jesus never fails to heal anyone whom He chooses to heal, or who comes asking for healing.

The only ones Jesus is not able to heal are those whose disbelief keeps them from asking for it. None of those Jesus heals in the Gospels are Christians yet. Most show no faith of their own, and some are not even expecting healing. Whose faith heals them? Jesus!

Someone had to have faith in every instance. Sometimes it was the healed, sometimes the healer, and sometimes both.

We are called to do His works, and we can have more success than we could have hoped for if we have these elements working in our lives. The mind renewed to who we are in Christ Jesus can operate in His authority.  And we can have his success. We are to have compassion as our motivation. Our chief purpose beyond the healing is making it known that Jesus is Christ. We must have faith in Jesus Christ, who told us to go in His name to heal, empowering us by the same Holy Spirit to do it.  

Photo by Elia Pellegrini on Unsplash


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