And he said unto them,
What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
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Thus, lest they have ground of obstinacy, and of accusing him again of transgression, He convicts them by this example. And do thou mark, I pray you, how variously and suitably in each case, He introduces His pleas for the breaking of the sabbath. Thus, first, in the case of the blind man, John 9:6 He does not so much as defend Himself to them, when He made the clay: and yet then also were they blaming Him; but the manner of the creation was enough to indicate the Lord and Owner of the law. Next, in the case of the paralytic, when he carried his bed, and they were finding fault, John 5:9-10 He defends Himself, now as God, and now as man; as man, when He says, If a man on the Sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law should not be broken; (and He said not that a man should be profited); are you angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath day? John 7:23 As God again, when He says, My Father works hitherto, and I work. John 5:17
But when blamed for His disciples, He said, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungered, himself and they that were with him, how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the show-bread? Matthew 12:3-4 He brings forward the priests also.
And here again; Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? Which of you shall have one sheep? For He knew their love of wealth, that they were all taken up with it, rather than with love of mankind. And indeed the other evangelist says, that He also looked about upon them when asking these questions, that by His very eye He might win them over; but not even so did they become better.
And yet here He speaks only; whereas elsewhere in many cases He heals by laying on of hands also. But nevertheless none of these things made them meek; rather, while the man was healed, they by his health became worse.