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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.
When they had brought them, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” [NRSV]
What have we been told NOT to do?
• Don’t eat with your mouth full of food.
Don’t let your shirttail be un-tucked
• Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, ill words.
• Don’t talk to strangers.
• Don’t talk during church.
• Don’t pray out loud as those who boast of their religion.
• Don’t worry about the poor, they will always be with us.
• Don’t be anxious about tomorrow.
• Don’t hesitate in giving your coat as well as your shirt.
• Don’t neglect the orphan and the widow.
• Don’t worship other God’s
• Don’t work on the Sabbath
• Don’t kill, steal, lie or covet
• Don’t dishonor your parents faithfulness
• Don’t leave home without your AMEX card.
• Our list could go on..
Listen closely to Peter and the disciples, now apostles in verse 28, “the council gave them strict order not to teach in Jesus’ name.”
Take a moment to look at the disciples new job title: Apostle. What is that about? Apostle is when a Disciple is entrusted with the work of leading other disciples. He or She is still a disciple of Jesus, but with the additional responsibility of leading disciples.
With this new job, there is a heightened commitment to the work of discipleship. Hear their response to the charges that they have broken the rules, not kept the expectations of the community leaders, not respected the limitations of those who do not know Jesus’ call, authority and power.
They reply: “We must do what God has called us to do.”
How do you know if you are doing what God wants you to do with your life. This is a fundamental question of a disciple trying to life as a disciple.
How do I know I’m doing what God wants?
First thing: Disciples follow Jesus. Look, listen and study what Jesus did and said and compare that to what Jesus people do and say today.
Second: if someone tell us to do something half way for God, is that how God operates? No, God is all in.
Third: Rarely is discipleship easy, welcomed or invited.
Finally: Knowing that I need to ask for course corrections is a sign that God can continually change us.
Catch two things before we leave this passage:
1. Peter and the others take this opportunity of challenge to teach the message.
They tell the story even when those challenging and threatening have said they don’t want to hear it.
2. Second the Council authorities say:
Your “faithfulness” will get us in trouble, it will be a problem to us, it will make us look bad..
They tell the lack of understanding they have and their unwillingness to seek God’s direction.
If someone makes you feel uncomfortable about sharing your faith, you are probably on the right track
And if someone makes you feel good about keeping quiet or not acting in accordance with your faith, they are most likely not leading on the right track.
It is one of the reason that Jesus established the renewal of faith through Holy Communion, to be a recharging and restoring of our faith and trust of the core story of our faith.
Why do we eat the bread? Jesus’ life and body, broken and scarified
Why do we drink the cup? Jesus becomes the fulfillment of the prophets and law, our Lamb and Savior.
We retell and relive the community and common faith and promise that Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again.
14 The LORD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. 15 There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the LORD does valiantly; 16 the right hand of the LORD is exalted; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly.” 17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD. 18 The LORD has punished me severely, but he did not give me over to death. 19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. 20 This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. 21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. 23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 25 Save us, we beseech you, O LORD! O LORD, we beseech you, give us success! 26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the house of the LORD. 27 The LORD is God, and he has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you. 29 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Come to the Table,
Eat and Drink,
Do not become weary, but remain strong and true in telling the story of our faith in Jesus Christ.