Luke 13:10 ¶ Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.
Luke 13:11 And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself.
Luke 13:12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.”
Luke 13:13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.
Luke 13:14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.”
Luke 13:15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it?
Luke 13:16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?”
Luke 13:17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
Some Christians really get worked up about the Sabbath. Other people completely ignore any concept of it and blaze through it like it’s any other day. Some people divide over whether the Sabbath should be Friday night to Saturday night, all day Sunday, or whether it is a flexible-but-important day of the week.
The point Jesus makes right here, is that we don’t need a Sabbath as much as we are offered a Sabbath. If something better comes along, like perhaps a chance to get healed after being sick for 18 stinking years, you should take the healing!
The awesome thing is how Jesus justifies His work. “Don’t you untie your donkey to give it water? Why shouldn’t I heal this woman who has been sick for 18 years?” All at the same time, Jesus shows that this woman is more important than a donkey, and that healing her illness was as easy for Him as it is for us to lead a donkey to a stream.
This woman, who Jesus says was bound by Satan, isn’t anyone noble or righteous or holy or whatever. She’s simply an Israelite woman. She didn’t do anything but need to be healed. Jesus did it on the Sabbath on purpose – to show the people God’s gifts. The gift of the Sabbath day’s rest is truly a gift. It is great to have a day to reflect on the Lord and to give all glory to Him for the past week.
At the same time, any work we can do to free and bless anyone is more than acceptable on the Sabbath. People working on the Sabbath for the healing of others need our encouragement more than they ever need our judgment.
Of all of the people in this story, I’d rather be the donkey getting water than the Pharisees cursing Jesus for healing on the wrong day of the week.
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