The Gospel of Luke | Sabbath Healing | Luke 13.10-17 |

by | Aug 11, 2021

”On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues,11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. 14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” 15 The Lord answered him, “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? 16 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?” 17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.” Luke 3.10-17

Jesus doesn’t give in to peer pressure. He doesn’t abide by human laws. When the synagogue leader saw that Jesus had healed this woman on the Sabbath he rebukes Jesus says, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

Now Jesus has already healed on the Sabbath and already established that the man is made for Sabbath, not the Sabbath for man. He’s already established that God’s people matter more than trying to abide by the Law which often confines God’s grace. The hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders is made clear in this example. Jesus shames them by pointing out that they care for their donkeys and ox on the Sabbath but not a daughter of Abraham who has been bound for eighteen years with this infirmity.

Instead of celebrating this work of God, the synagogue leader refuses the miracle and rebukes God’s work. But what does is the woman’s response? The one who is healed by Jesus? She celebrates! Once Jesus lays his hands on her she “immediately straightened up and praised God.” This should have been the response of everyone who saw and was in earshot of the amazing work of God. Jesus, who has the power to raise the dead to life, gave this woman, relief after eighteen long years of infirmity. Isn’t this worth praise to God?

Unfortunately, human nature remains stuck in sin and our own selfish pride. We care more for our own position, ability and influence than God’s work around us. And his work is to be celebrated regardless of how it impacts us. I have seen this in churches where pastors are jealous of each other’s success rather than celebrating the work of God. That we would become territorial and believe that if God doesn’t do it through me than it’s not valid. How silly!

The miracle on the Sabbath was God’s work in this woman. Jesus knows it, he directed it, and the synagogue leaders who were indignant that the healing took place on the Sabbath missed out experiencing the joy of the Lord in his midst.

Where is God at work today that we can celebrate? How is he working around us, and possibly through us, to redeem humanity? Why not allow God to do what he does best? Why not give him praise for his work in this world even if it doesn’t involve us?

”O Lord God, you are good. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for allowing me to have a seat at your table, to be involved in Kingdom building. To find a home and rest assured that you are good and that you are God. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your love and grace. Help me know the power of your Spirit and the work of your hand. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen