Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself.
When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.
But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.”
Then the Lord answered him “You Hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?”
As he said these things , all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
One of the things I really like about Jesus in the gospels, is that he always gets to the heart of the matter.
When he sees a person, he sees their need, not the day of the week. In this case it was a woman who had been bent over for eighteen years. Imagine the disconnection she felt from community, and the judgement she no doubt received from the religious leaders.
Jesus calls her over, says what needs to be said and touches her which always sends a clear message to those around him. As soon as she is healed she praised God for his mercy and grace.
But there’s always a party pooper!
Here the wet blanket is the ruler of the synagogue. (surprise surprise) We are told he is disgruntled by what he has just witnessed. Yep that’s right, he has just seen a woman who has been impacted by a spirit for over 10 years (no doubt he had seen her many times before) be healed and she is now able to walk normal, and instead of celebrating with her he is instead unhappy, annoyed and disappointed.
Today is not the day for people to be healed
It’s sad that these were his words after witnessing the supernatural right in front of him. What’s worse is that he has been stuck in the law for so long that he now sees the restoration of people as work to be done, another thing to be done correctly.
In verses 15-16 Jesus replies to the synagogue leaders suggestion to the people the way only way he could, with loving authority. He passionately addresses the hypocrisy of those with power and then shows how much the woman is valued.
Their sabbath traditions placed a higher value on animals than on people in distress, and therefore corrupted the whole purpose of the sabbath – John MacArthur
I would loved to have been able to observe first hand the contrast of the religious leaders being put to shame and the people rejoicing all at the same time. This seemed to have been a regular occurrence in the Gospels. But more than that, to have been able to actually see Jesus calling the woman over, telling her she is free and then seeing her stand straight and give glory to God. A Sabbath to remember!
Is there a story in one of the Gospels that you have read and thought how awesome it would of been to be there?
Father God, thank you for the Gospels, that we can see you in action as you give real life to those that have lost it and get to the heart of hypocrisy. Open our eyes so when we are reading your word we are just as changed as the woman who was healed and may we also never forget to give you the glory and rejoice in your awesome works. – Amen