Sunday 21 August 2016

Bible Book:

“… 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?” (v. 16)

Luke 13:10-17 Sunday 21 August 2016

Psalm: Psalm 103


Luke is the only Gospel to record this story: an extraordinaryevent happening in a rather ordinary setting. Jesus is teaching onthe Sabbath, as he so often did, and a crippled woman appears whois in need of healing. The word Luke's Gospel uses to describe herappearance in the synagogue indicates that this was sudden,unexpected, something of a surprise: 'behold!' It would bereasonable to wonder if she had been brought there in an attempt totrap Jesus, or, at least, to see how he would react to thesituation. But Jesus acted predictably: the woman was healed andshe went her way (verse 13). Embarrassed, angry and nervous in hisinability to handle the situation, the ruler of the synagogueturned on the crowd: if they had not been there, had not broughtthe stricken woman, this breach of the law would not have occurred.A classic case of deflected anger!

There are two remarkable things about Jesus' response to theruler; firstly, he used the law to justify what he had done (verse15) - those observing the incident would have had no problem infreeing a trapped animal on the Sabbath, the law allowed for it inspecific circumstances. Why not then a person? Secondly, Jesus drewthe woman, marginalised both by gender and by disability, into thegathering of the faithful; she was a daughter of Abraham, one ofthe chosen of God.

The love and mercy of God know no boundaries, observe no lawsand disqualify no-one. They do not wait for a more suitable time sothat niceties may be observed. Those suffering are among us, theyare of us, their need cannot wait. Followers of Jesus need alwaysto hold this truth in mind - it is the basis from which to livelives of discipleship.

To Ponder

  • Think of a time when the need(s) of another caused youembarrassment. What did you do on that occasion? And how do youfeel about that now?
  • Have the 'rules' of the church ever bothered you and got in theway of what you see to be your ministry? What did you do then?

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