Summary: Jesus knew that rules are important, but he knew that the needs of people are more important. You and I need to learn that lesson as well. Whenever we see someone in need, the most important thing is to help them, no matter when or where it may be.
To help you understand the importance of the reading we just heard from Luke’s Gospel, I’m going to do something unusual. I’m going to bend over.
As you can see, this is not a very comfortable position for me. I could easily stay bent over like this for a few minutes, but what if I had to stay bent over like that all the time? What if I had to stay bent over like this day after day and year after year? That would be quite a different story, wouldn't it? What if I went to the store and I needed something from the top shelf? I can’t even see the top shelf, much less reach the items on that shelf! I would have to depend on someone to find and get the items I needed.
In today's Bible reading, Jesus was teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath when he saw a woman who was crippled. She had been bent over double for eighteen years and was unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over to him, touched her and said, "Woman, you are healed!" Instantly she could stand up straight. She was so happy that she began to praise God!
You would think that everyone in the synagogue that day would be happy and join the woman in praising God. Not so! The leader in charge of the synagogue was very angry that Jesus had healed the woman on the Sabbath day. He told the crowd, "There are six days of the week for working. Come on those days and be healed, but not on the Sabbath."
Jesus answered the leader of the synagogue, "You hypocrite! All of you work on the Sabbath! Don't you untie your ox or your donkey and lead it out for water? Doesn't this dear woman deserve to be healed, even on the Sabbath?" The leader was shamed, but the other people were happy and rejoiced at all of the wonderful things that Jesus did.
Jesus knew that rules are important, but he knew that the needs of people are more important. You and I need to learn that lesson as well. Whenever we see someone in need, the most important thing is to help them, no matter when or where it may be.
Father, help us to follow the example that Jesus has set for us. Help us to place the needs of others ahead of any rules we may have. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.