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. And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; 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? And they could not answer him again to these things. (Luke 14:1-6)
During the last few months of Jesus’ life, opposition to him grew. Herod wanted to kill Jesus (Luke 13:13), and the scribes and Pharisees were “lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say” (Luke 11:54) or do. In their desire to get rid of Jesus, the Pharisees set up a man with an illness on a Sabbath day to see what Jesus would do so that they could “catch him” breaking their misinterpretation of God’s law.
Jesus, in this passage again, is showing us something about the hearts of those who opposed His ministry, and He's showing us something about His heart. And He's showing us something about how our hearts ought to respond to the Lord's Day. Dr. Ligon Duncan says ‘the way that we observe the Lord's Day is an indicator of our spiritual condition and the state of our hearts and especially reveals whether we have, by the Holy Spirit and by God's grace, been conformed to the heart of our Savior’.