Friday 15 March 2013

Bible Book:

Luke 13:10-17 Friday 15 March 2013


The focus of today's passage is not just on the healing of awoman, but on the confrontation that it causes. It mirrorsarguments that have already taken place in Luke6:6-11 and will occur again in Luke14:1-6, about what is or is not acceptable to do on thesabbath. It is worth noting that the healing on the sabbath inCapernaum (Luke 4:31-36) didn't seem to cause the samecontroversy. Perhaps that is another sign of how well respected hewas, or maybe how open-minded the people were, in the town he'dmoved to live in.

Working on the sabbath was against the religious law. Jesus hadbeen reprimanded by the Pharisees for allowing his disciples tobreak that law by picking grain in the field (Luke6:1-2). He clearly thought that the religious leaders shouldnot be focusing on such trivialities and were losing sight of thelaw's real purpose. However healing a woman on the sabbath, and inthe synagogue, could not go unchallenged. The leader of thesynagogue not unreasonably points out that there were six days inthe week to have helped this woman (verse 14) and her condition washardly an emergency, having lived with her bent back for eighteenyears (verse 11).

Jesus' answer to his critics exposes their hypocrisy andprejudice. In reminding them how they will look after their animalson the sabbath he contrasts that with their reluctance to help awoman on the margins of their society. Just like the woman with ahaemorrhage (Luke 8:43), this woman who was thought to bebent over by the weight of an unclean spirit, would have beenunable to fulfil her role in society. She would have been on themargins and thought of little higher than the ox or donkey. And yetin the eyes of God she was a "daughter of Abraham" (v. 16). She wasvalued and loved just as much as any other person listening andwatching in the synagogue. No wonder the "entire crowd wasrejoicing at all the wonderful things he was doing" (v. 17).

To Ponder

  • How we use Sundays have changed dramatically over the last 20years. Do you have any sympathy with the views of the leader of thesynagogue?
  • The Methodist Church, like most other denominations, has setrules and regulations. To what extent are these a help or ahindrance to our mission?
  • Think of someone who is bent over with their cares or concerns.What can you do to help relieve their burden?

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