Luke 13 vs 15-16. “The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his 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?”
One Sabbath day this sad woman finds her way to the local synagogue. We wonder what sort of message she had heard in the past, in that place! Even now, on this occasion, did she think there was any word of hope especially for her? She might have heard the words of Deuteronomy 5 vs 14 & 15, and she probably also had heard Leviticus 26 v 13 either read or preached on. But no synagogue ruler would have prayed for her to be healed because that constituted “work”, which was just not done on a Sabbath. What a cold and unrelational way to think.
But before anybody could do or say anything mighty hands stretched out to her. We read that Jesus “called her forward”, then put his hands on her. He could do that because he was the teacher in the synagogue on that day. The rulers of synagogues often had strangers teaching or commenting from the floor. “Woman, you are released from your infirmity” and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
You would think that this amazing miracle, performed in full view of all the people and right before the eyes of the synagogue ruler, would have brought about awe and gladness that God’s mighty power was present among the people. But the synagogue ruler was having none of it. Instead of being awe-struck, we read he was indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath day. He said, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” Wow! Talk about putting people off! It is hard to imagine something more hard-hearted. This poor woman had been bound by the devil and bent over in this way for eighteen years! Surely this was a moment for awe and praise? Instead she was made to feel as if she had committed some sin against God.
Pause for a moment to think about how totally unaffected some people are by the suffering of others. These same people seem to have a deadness in their emotions, so that they can never be moved or touched in their souls. They simply cannot see the miracle or the meaning of the moment they are in. They are ruled and governed by a set of laws. This is the territory of their inner minds and anything outside of it they are incapable of comprehending.
You may well know people like this, but please do not become like them. Have eyes to see what God is doing before your very eyes.
Well, how did Jesus handle this tricky moment? We will see tomorrow.