A close-up shot of hands holding a worn-out Bible, emphasizing the passage about Jesus healing on the Sabbath, illustrating the tension between religious laws and acts of compassion.

How Many Times Did Jesus Heal On The Sabbath?

The Sabbath day of rest holds great significance in Judaism, commemorating God’s day of rest after the six days of creation. However, the gospel accounts record several instances where Jesus healed people on the Sabbath, much to the indignation of the religious authorities of his day.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Jesus healed on the Sabbath at least 7 times according to scripture.

In this comprehensive article, we will examine each account of Jesus’ Sabbath healings, analyzing the context, key characters, and lessons surrounding these controversial miracles that challenged prevailing traditions and assumptions about proper Sabbath observance.

The Healing at the Pool of Bethesda

The Context and Key Characters

This miracle is recorded in John 5:1-15 and takes place in Jerusalem near the sheep gate at the pool called Bethesda. Jesus encounters a disabled man who had been ill for 38 years and asks if he wants to be healed. After the man says yes, Jesus tells him to “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

(John 5:8) Immediately, the man is cured and picks up his mat to walk.

The key people involved are Jesus, who performs this incredible miracle on the Sabbath, the sick man who Jesus heals, and the Jewish leaders who criticize Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. The location of the pool of Bethesda is also significant, as it was known for its healing waters.

According to tradition, an angel would stir the waters and the first person to enter would be healed.

Lessons and Controversy from Jesus’ Actions

There are several key lessons and much controversy stemming from Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath:

  • Jesus shows compassion by healing a man who was ill for almost 40 years.
  • The healed man shows gratitude by picking up his mat and walking, even though it was the Sabbath.
  • The Jewish leaders show legalism by criticizing Jesus for healing on the holy day of rest.
  • Jesus claims equality with God by referring to God as his Father, prompting the leaders’ outrage.

This incident causes division between Jesus and the religious authorities. They become angry that he healed on the Sabbath, which they considered “work” that violated religious law. Jesus replies by saying, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17).

By claiming God as his Father and defender of his work, Jesus makes himself equal with God. This shocks the Jewish leaders and increases their determination to kill him (John 5:18). Still, Jesus shows through his compassionate healing that helping people in need takes priority over strict observance of religious rules or customs.

Healing the Man with a Withered Hand

Confrontation in the Synagogue

One Sabbath day, Jesus entered a synagogue where He noticed a man with a withered hand (Matthew 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11). The religious leaders watched Jesus closely to see if He would heal the man, wanting to accuse Him of working on the Sabbath.

Jesus knew their thoughts and told the man to stretch out his hand. When he did, his hand was restored! But instead of rejoicing, the Pharisees went out and began to plot how they might kill Jesus. Their hard hearts valued rules over people.

Jesus Prioritizes People over Rules

This miracle beautifully displays Jesus’ compassion. He did not hesitate to heal on the Sabbath, knowing it was lawful to do good on that day (Mark 3:4). Time and again in the Gospels, we see Jesus prioritizing people over man-made religious rules (see GotQuestions.org).

He corrected the Pharisees’ rigid legalism by showing that the Sabbath was made for man’s benefit, not the other way around (Mark 2:27).

According to the Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, Jesus healed many disabled people during His earthly ministry, demonstrating His divine power over disease and disability. By restoring this man’s hand, Jesus displayed His authority to heal and do good, no matter the day of the week.

He also exposed the cold-heartedness of the religious leaders who valued rules over compassion.

Healing the Crippled Woman

Freedom over Legalism

One Sabbath day, Jesus was teaching in a synagogue where He saw a woman who had been crippled by a spirit for 18 years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all (Luke 13:10-13). When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”

He then placed His hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

However, the synagogue leader was indignant that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath. He told the people that there were six days for work and that the Sabbath was meant for rest, so they should come to be healed on those days instead. But Jesus replied, “You hypocrites!

Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

With this, Jesus demonstrated that showing compassion and freeing others from bondage is more important than rigidly following laws and traditions. He cared more about restoring this woman’s dignity and quality of life than obeying strict rules.

Jesus’ revolutionary teaching emphasized inner transformation over outer appearance and performance. He prioritized people over protocol.

Indignation of the Synagogue Ruler

The synagogue ruler was furious that Jesus healed on the Sabbath. From his perspective, Jesus violated principles that their faith held dear for centuries. However, Jesus sought to move people from legalism to liberty.

He cared more about restoring the woman’s wellbeing than rules that constrained compassion.

This conflict reveals a distinction between two mindsets – one prioritizing law and tradition, the other focused on people and redemption. The ruler represented an inflexible, hierarchical system invested in its own authority.

Jesus came as a liberator who questioned status quo and cared for outcasts.

Clinging to his position, the synagogue ruler felt threatened by Jesus’ challenge to their power structures and conventions. Maybe he worried Jesus’ radical inclusion would destabilize existing social norms or undermine their credibility as arbiters of right and wrong.

So he sought to discredit Jesus despite the woman’s remarkable healing.

Jesus exposed this hypocrisy by highlighting their inconsistent legalism. They made allowances to water livestock on holy days but condemned relieving human suffering. Jesus revealed selective enforcement of rules that honored animals above daughters of Abraham.

Through this story, we see Jesus frequently clashed with self-righteous gatekeepers as He ushered in good news for the powerless and marginalized.

Healing the Man Blind and Mute

Accusations of Jesus’ Power from Beelzebul

Jesus performed many miracles of healing on the Sabbath, which drew criticism from the Pharisees. In one account in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus healed a man who was blind and mute, restoring his sight and speech. The crowds marveled at this, wondering if Jesus could be the Son of David.

But when the Pharisees heard this, they accused Jesus of driving out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons (Matthew 12:22-24).

Jesus knew their thoughts and refuted their accusations. He responded with several arguments. First, he stated “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.” Jesus asked how he could possibly drive out demons by the power of Beelzebul, when it would be a house divided against itself.

Satan would be driving out his own agents. Therefore, Jesus must be driving out demons by the power of God instead (Matthew 12:25-28).

Second, Jesus asked if he drove out demons by Beelzebul, then by what power did the Pharisees’ own Jewish exorcists drive out demons. So they would be condemning themselves in accusing Jesus (Matthew 12:27).

Third, Jesus spoke of tying up the strong man first in order to plunder his house. Jesus was able to drive demons out because he had first “tied up” Satan by overpowering him. But if Jesus did this by Beelzebul’s power, then Beelzebul was powerless and his kingdom scattered (Matthew 12:29).

So in multiple ways, Jesus refuted the accusation that his power over demons came from Satan. He had entered Satan’s household and overpowered him, demonstrating Jesus’ authority came from God instead.

Through healing this man blind and mute, Jesus showed his divine power against the destructive work of Satan.

The House Divided Cannot Stand

In His response to the Pharisees, Jesus stated “every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.” This principle applied just as much to the Pharisees themselves as it did to Satan driving out his own demons.

Jesus warned that their accusation against Him carried the implication that their own Jewish exorcists drove out demons by Beelzebul’s power as well. So they were condemning themselves. They prided themselves in driving out demons as proof of God’s power among them, yet they condemned Jesus healing by God’s power (Matthew 12:27).

Not only were they being self-contradictory, but Jesus even took the illustration further. He said “if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people cast them out?” (Matthew 12:27). Even by the Pharisees’ logic, their own Jewish exorcists would have to be in league with Satan!

This would be an obvious “house divided against itself.”

So Jesus turned the tables on His critics. In accusing Jesus’ healing power as coming from Satan, they failed to see the implication against themselves—that they had already let Satan gain power among them. They were blinded by their pride and jealousy of Jesus.

Jesus gave fair warning that this kind of self-contradictory thinking and “house divided against itself” could not stand under the truth He spoke. And His miracles of delivering people from Satan’s oppression were evidence that the kingdom of God had indeed come upon them (Matthew 12:28).

Healing the Man with Dropsy

A Lesson in Humility

One Sabbath day, Jesus was having dinner at the home of a prominent Pharisee (Luke 14:1). While there, a man with dropsy came before him. Dropsy is an illness which causes fluid buildup and swelling in the body.

Seeing this sick man, Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not. But they remained silent.

Jesus knew their hearts were filled with pride. They followed strict religious laws, but lacked compassion. So he healed the man with dropsy and sent him on his way (Luke 14:4). Then he asked, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?”

(Luke 14:5). Of course they would. But they were too proud to admit it.

Through this, Jesus taught that doing good and saving a life is more important than following minor rules. He was urging the Pharisees to check their pride, and rather than judge others, think of how they can help.

As 1 Peter 5:5 reminds us, “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'”

Doing Good on the Sabbath

The Pharisees had added many detailed rules to God’s command to observe the Sabbath day. They even regulated minor activities like healing. But Jesus made it clear that doing good and helping others should not be banned on the Sabbath.

In fact, Jesus purposefully healed people on the Sabbath to challenge the Pharisees’ wrong understanding. On a different Sabbath day, he healed a woman who had been crippled by a spirit for 18 years (Luke 13:10-17). This made the synagogue leader angry.

But Jesus responded, “Should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” (Luke 13:16). The crowds rejoiced over his wonderful miracle.

Another time, Jesus healed a man born blind by making mud with his saliva to put on the man’s eyes (John 9:1-16). This was also done intentionally on the Sabbath. Jesus showed that God desires mercy, not religious ritual. As Jesus declared, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27).

Healing the Infirm Woman

Freedom from Bondage

Jesus performed another remarkable healing miracle on the Sabbath day that highlights His compassion for those suffering under physical affliction. On this occasion, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues when He saw a woman who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen long years (Luke 13:10-17).

This poor woman was bent over and could not stand up straight at all. When Jesus saw her condition, He immediately called her over and said, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity” (v. 12). With just a word from Jesus, the woman was healed and she immediately stood up straight, freed from the debilitating physical bondage she had endured for nearly two decades.

This incredible healing beautifully illustrates Jesus’ power over infirmity and suffering. In an instant, He was able to free this woman from an ailment that had plagued her for so many years. The crowds who witnessed this were amazed and rejoiced at the wonderful things Jesus was doing (v. 17).

However, there were some who were indignant that Jesus healed on the Sabbath. Their stubbornness and lack of compassion were in stark contrast to Jesus’ mercy and grace.

Hypocrisy of Jesus’ Opponents Highlighted

The hypocrisy of Jesus’ opponents is highlighted in this account. The synagogue official was angry that Jesus healed on the Sabbath and he told the people that there were six days they could be healed, so they should not come for healing on the Sabbath (v. 14).

Jesus responded by exposing the hypocrisy in the thinking of this religious leader and others like him, saying, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it?” (v. 15).

Jesus pointed out that even they took care of their animals on the Sabbath. So how much more important is it to provide healing to a suffering human being on the Sabbath?

With this powerful response, Jesus silenced His critics. They had no legitimate basis for indignation because He had performed an act of compassion and mercy for someone in need. Their manufactured traditions could not supersede God’s heart for love and care.

Through this healing miracle on the Sabbath, Jesus powerfully declared that meeting human needs is more important than rigidly adhering to extra-biblical rules. This event is a great example of Jesus prioritizing love and compassion over human religious traditions.

Healing the Man Born Blind

Revealing the Works of God

In John 9, Jesus heals a man blind from birth on the Sabbath day. This miracle beautifully reveals Jesus as the light of the world (John 9:5). It also displays God’s power and results in the blind man worshipping Jesus.

When Jesus saw the blind man, His disciples asked if the man or his parents had sinned to cause his blindness. Jesus responds that his blindness would be used to reveal the works of God (John 9:3). This reveals a key purpose of Jesus’ miraculous signs—to glorify God.

Jesus heals the blind man by making mud with saliva, putting it on his eyes, and telling him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. The man obeys and receives his sight (John 9:6-7). The Pharisees interrogate the healed man, who explains what Jesus did. They criticize Jesus for healing on the Sabbath.

The Pharisees refuse to believe the man was born blind until they summon his parents as witnesses. The parents confirm it but avoid commenting on his healing because they fear the Pharisees. The Pharisees demand that the healed man denounce Jesus as a sinner, but he refuses.

“Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see! “ he declares (John 9:25). He worships Jesus, recognizing Him as Lord.

True Sight versus Spiritual Blindness

This story contrasts physical blindness with spiritual blindness. The Pharisees remain stubborn in their unbelief despite witnessing the miracle. Jesus declares that He came to give sight to those blind spiritually and make blind those who claim to see (John 9:39).

The humble blind man receives both physical and spiritual sight. The educated, prestigious Pharisees remain blinded in self-righteousness.

This miracle validates Jesus’ divinity through an unprecedented healing. The Jews believed no one could heal someone blind from birth (John 9:32). By restoring the man’s eyesight, Jesus demonstrates supernatural power and authority. This miracle prompts division and debate regarding Jesus’ claims.

Many challenge the healing, but some believe. For those with eyes to see, the signs point to Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah.

Jesus purposefully heals on the Sabbath to highlight that He is Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:5). As God’s Son, He determines proper Sabbath observance – showing mercy and bringing wholeness trumps legalistic rules.

Jesus is the light that scatters darkness, the healer that brings restoration, and the Savior that redeems our brokenness.


While Jesus never overtly broke the Sabbath, his pattern of healings on this sacred day deliberately challenged conventional thinking and strict legalistic observance of Sabbath regulations.

Through his compassionate words and deeds, Jesus revealed profound theological insights about the true meaning of Sabbath, emphasizing that loving one’s neighbor takes priority over rigid rule-keeping.

The religious authorities were indignant, but the common people rejoiced in Jesus’ display of mercy. May we practice ‘Sabbath work’ by aiming to restore others too.

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