Thursday

“Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” (v. 12)

Luke 13:10-17 Thursday 28 June 2018

Psalm: Psalm 93


Background

Luke’s Gospel, from the beginning, helps the reader to understand that Jesus is Jewish. While the Gospel can be seen as ‘Gentile-friendly’ it embraces Jesus’ Jewish heritage. In this passage we find Jesus teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath, in line with Jewish tradition. There is conflict between Jesus and some Jewish leaders, but this is from within the tradition as Luke’s Gospel makes clear. 

At the centre of this passage is a healing that demonstrates Jesus’ power and compassion. The healing of this woman exemplifies the kingdom of God as declared and embodied in Jesus’ ministry. This is a miracle that tells us something about God.

The synagogue leader was not happy because Jesus had broken the laws by healing on the Sabbath; the seventh day was set aside by God for Israel's rest, and work was prohibited on the Sabbath.

Jesus responded, not with a rejection of the Torah (Jewish law) rulings about the Sabbath, rather he argues from genuine allowances of restricted kinds of ‘work’ on the Sabbath (verse 15). These kinds of discussions were common in Jewish dialogue regarding the Sabbath. Then Jesus argued for healing on the Sabbath based on the great worth of the woman as "a daughter of Abraham" (v. 16) and the appropriateness of healing on the Sabbath. What better day to heal (bring freedom) than on the Sabbath?

This is a story about the role and function of our religious traditions, about what could and should be practised on the Sabbath or who is allowed within the walls of our synagogues and religious communities.


To Ponder

  • This is a story about community. What kind of community do you want to be a part of?
  • In what ways are people excluded from our communities today? Where can you bring a message of freedom?
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