Wednesday 26 August 2015

Bible Book:

“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 who Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the Sabbath day?” (vv. 15-16)

Luke 13:10-17 Wednesday 26 August 2015

Psalm: Psalm 74:13-23


Somewhat subversively, Luke's Gospel records four instances whenJesus healed individuals on the Sabbath: there is a demon-possessedman (4:31-35); a man with a withered right hand (6:6-11); a man suffering from dropsy (14:1-6); and this unfortunate woman who iscrippled. These acts of kindness and liberation did not meet withthe approval of the religious authorities, who became more and morewatchful as Jesus' ministry developed and as he approached the cityof Jerusalem.

Not all synagogue rulers were averse to Jesus: Jesus taught insynagogues (Luke 4:15); the ruler, Jairus, sought him outfor healing for his daughter (Luke8:41-56). These events, however, took place in Galilee, aconsiderable distance from the seat of power.

There was a multiplicity of rules and regulations concerning theobservation of the Sabbath. Many may seem ridiculous: surely it ismore difficult to untie a knot with one hand than with two? Thatsaid, these Laws had offered a beleaguered nation a sense ofidentity and solidarity.

In Jesus, the Gospels reveal a man well-versed in the law.However, what is equally clear is that he was challenging a systemin which obedience to the law had taken precedence over humanwellbeing. What had been good had become corrupted and was beingused to oppress rather than to liberate (cf Matthew 23:25).

Such is Jesus' authority and popularity with the people that thesynagogue ruler did not address him directly. Instead, he rebukedthe crowd: the 'fault' lay with those coming for healing on theSabbath.

Jesus turned the law on itself: if it is permissible to free ananimal, then why not a daughter of Abraham? Note how thisphysically challenged woman, unable to lift her head, was given herrightful place: she too was a child of Father Abraham and mighthold her head high in every sense.

To Ponder

  • When do you think it is right to break the rules? Think of atime when you have done this: what was the reaction?
  • Who are the marginalised in your community? How can you helpthem to hold their heads high as children of God?
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