10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” 13 When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14 But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” 15 But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” 17 When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing. [NRSV]
Is this passage about Sabbath rules?
Is this passage about miraculous healing story?
Is this passage about a woman’s desperation to try anything because of pain?
If you are, or know someone who lives with chronic pain, you know how even the most simple or small task can be debilitation and excruciating. Typically finding a balancing point in one’s pain tolerance is called a good day, even though the pain is present.
Backbreaking work from years of stressed postures, injury, surgery, over worked muscles and joints or autoimmune triggers…the pain hurts the same, no matter how it started. This woman who comes to see Jesus, and Jesus sees her. He is moved with compassion and see a world broken and hurting summed up in one person’s experience.
Something caused the woman’s pain, it might have taken years or over night, but it reached a tipping point eighteen years ago. It had affected her spirit. Certainly, in that time she had gone to the temple for healing, encouragement, and blessing.
The priest, who is not able to do in 18 years, what Jesus can do in an instant, points to something he can manage and control. Why can’t the priest be happy the woman is healed? Jesus uses the situation to show that at times, God and good and wholeness will threaten some folks. It is an act of self-defense to try to save face.
Why do we need to always be right, particularly when we are not? It is a sign that our view is upside down. The charge that Jesus makes is the priest was acting hypocritical. Saying one thing is important when acting like something else is more important.
Five times in seven verses the idea and concept of Sabbath is defined. Once by the priest, correcting Jesus and the crowd and the woman healed. Four times by Jesus who reveals the Sabbath is a day for teaching, gathering, learning, worshiping, and healing…all of which require work.
Is the passage about working on Sunday or caring more about rules than people?
Is the massage about pain management or turning to Jesus for wholeness?
Is this passage about trying what we have done for the past 18 years and expect a different out come?
This message is to the faithful, because the faithless are not ready or willing to hear it.. ie) the priest
The message is about saying one thing and living another.
Sing our songs, but not believe that Jesus Loves us. Or that God so great, when I have a better idea to cut a corner
This message is about talking Jesus today, living by my rules when it’s Tuesday..
Jesus is saying: don’t fool yourself because God cant be fooled.