Matthew 12:11-15

Mat 12:11 (KJB)
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?

Jesus then goes on to point out just how the Pharisees twisted the understanding of the law. He gives an obvious point that no one could object to nor be condemned for. If a sheep falls into a pit or a hole in the ground, the one who owns the sheep is not going to wait until the next day to retrieve that sheep from the hole because by time the owner would come back, a wolf or other animal would probably already have attacked it and eaten it. So Jesus is telling them that there were necessary things which had to be done on the sabbath. The cattle had to be watered and fed, the chickens had to be fed along with all the other animals. So Jesus is telling the Pharisees that they have severely restricted the understanding of the sabbath and turned it into a day of legalism which it was not intended to be.

Mat 12:12 (KJB)
How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

Then Jesus makes a comparison between a sheep and man that was created in the image of God. The Pharisees were so uncompassionate that they would rather allow a man to retain his withered hand and keep their legalistic additions to the sabbath law. Jesus then tells them straight out that it is lawful to do good deeds on the sabbath day. In the Luke account, Jesus asks them a straight forward question. (Luke 6:9 KJV) 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? To save a life on the sabbath was permitted by the Pharisees. Jesus had posed this question to appeal to their own decrees that they were extremely hypocritical and filled with malice toward their fellow human beings. To the Pharisees the sheep was probably more valuable because it could be sold for money.

Mat 12:13 (KJB)
Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.

Jesus did not concern Himself with their hypocrisy and evil intents. He saw a man in need and He met that need whether they liked it or not. He then commanded the man to stretch forth his hand and his hand was restored just like the other. Jesus had spoken to the Pharisees that doing good on the sabbath was lawful and here Jesus puts those words into practice right in front of them. This is a also a principle for Christian living that we should never fear false religions. If we know of a need that has to be met, we must never concern ourselves with the legalism and false tenets of false religion but we must obey God. (Acts 5:29 KJV) Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Mat 12:14 (KJB)
Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.

This is the first account in Matthew where the Pharisees had begun to plot to kill Jesus. Up to this point they were just happy to criticize and accuse Him of various violations of the law. They now believed they had cause to have Him put to death because they believed that He violated the sabbath by working on it. (Exo 31:14 KJV) Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Of course, by the time the Babylonian Talmud came down to the time of Jesus, there were at least 500 years worth of additions to it making it an impossible document to follow. They took it as an affront that Jesus healed on the sabbath right in front of them, despite their objections. This would hurt their pride because they were used to being slavishly obeyed.

Mat 12:15 (KJB)
But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;

Jesus had known about the secret plot to destroy Him. (John 2:24 KJV) But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, So instead of any further confrontation with these false preachers, He had left their presence and as usual there were great crowds of people who followed Jesus and not only did He heal the withered hand of that one man, but here He healed the sicknesses and maladies of the entire crowd which followed Him. Now the Pharisees could have hundreds of witnesses who were healed on the sabbath day. Jesus had avoided disputes but He never avoided a need by someone.