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.” 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? 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?” 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]
A story of URGENCY of healing, priorities, and sabbath rest.
The emergency room is filled with people who are priorities for treatment every day of the week and every hour of the night. The triage nurses are the first line of identifying the balance of severity of need with the available space and equipment for treatment.
The woman of the text has perplexed doctors and rabbis nearly two decades had been seeking healing without relief. The community was very likely calloused to the condition of a woman, bleeding, chronically. She was at the third strike. She was frustrated and hopeless and so were the caregivers and community.
The first question that Jesus poses to the faithful crowd and leaders is this: “Which is more important: Healing or Rules?” Live without rules is chaotic. Life without healing is a miserable life.
What is most important to me? To God? To the woman? To the authorities? to the community? etc.
Where is the urgency with an 18 year condition? What’s one more day?
Answer: God who made the rules can amend and bend and complete the law/rules.
Healing brought the woman into the heart of the community and that became more urgent.
The second question is a variation of the first: “Does God care more about the law or caring for the people God created?”
It has an obvious answer. It gives perspective to the when we follow the rule and when we break the law. Should you never speed while driving? No, rushing someone to the emergency room who has a critical need would not be expected to sit in traffic and wait for red lights to change, BUT when we do break the rules we need to pay greater attention to our surroundings.
We live in a society where major groups of people act without thinking, and we send law enforcement persons to into situations where people who are calloused to the law and bring anger and anarchy into the urgency that chaos brings.
Answer: Who is setting the priorities? God or the administrators of God’s representatives? Some would say just follow the laws. But when folks are disregarding the law we have to become hyper aware of the circumstances.
We live in a 24/7 society that has lost the power of walking with God in the Garden of Eden.
The Sabbath rest vs Sabbath rules Rules over healing on the sabbath vs healing.
The heart of the passage helps us re-frame what the sabbath means to us and for us.God has created us to spend time together. If the rules and law keep us from finding time with God then the law is in the way. But it is more often the case that we use the law to our advantage.
Let’s do our church stuff on Sunday and the rest of the week is our own. Instead of all that I do, I do with God’s help and guidance and mercy and forgiveness and Sabbath is the time after dinner and before bedtime. Just talking, sharing, listening and being together.
This passage is another where we see some of Jesus’s frustration, “You make caring for your animals/transportation on the sabbath, but you don’t heal with is obviously more important and in need of the greatest attention.
The healing on the sabbath glories God; it reminds us that God is working with us, and it reminds us what/who is most important to God.
The Priorities shift, of what time is God’s time and who we live and work for is where we go astray. What is God’s priority vs what is my priority. (even if they over lap, God’s priority comes first.)
ACTION PLAN: 24/6 lifestyle. work hard and rest hard… give up off the sofa and study the bible. Change your comfort and habits to make more time for God. Turn off the bad news and retell the good news, to remember where are priorities are when we go back to work/etc.