Summary: A look at healing on the Sabbath and our choice of grace or law!
Grace or Law?
August 25, 2019
When we’re young we don’t think about bending over for things, do we? We just do it, we react. But, as we age, we tend to get a little more cautious. We realize if we pick up that package the wrong way, if we trip over that crack in the sidewalk, even sneeze the wrong way . . . we know there are possible consequences. It’s instantaneous. We feel it, we may even hear it. Boom!
I have to admit it happened to me about 1 year ago. On occasion, I take a break and shoot baskets in the FLC. I was shooting and kicked the basketball off the wall so I would not have to bend down. Bad move!! I kicked and I went down as quickly as I kicked it. The pain ripped through my leg. I wasn’t sure if I broke it, or what, no bones were sticking out. I felt for it. Finally I got up and hobbled back to my office, looked at my leg and nothing was out of place.
But my leg was in pain for a few days. Eventually I went to the doctor and they told me I pulled my quad muscle and it would heal. There were no tears, just a bad pull. I kicked a basketball. My leg never fully healed. It’s still messed up, but there’s no pain, so I guess I’m good, but no more kickball or soccer. I had to drop out of tryouts to be the Bears field goal kicker, too!
When pain hits, it can be agonizing. It doesn’t matter how old you are, pain is no fun. Yet, it’s necessary in our lives, because it alerts us that something is wrong with our body. Yet, let me say it again, pain is no fun.
I’ve had a bad back for almost 40 years. I try to stretch and do some exercising to help. But in my early 20's I was in the hospital, in traction for 9 days. Living with pain is no fun. Have I said that already? I guess so.
In the scripture we’re looking at today, we meet a woman who’s been bent over for 18 agonizing years. Jesus is in the synagogue teaching, and let’s see what happens in this story from Luke 13.
10 Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.
11 And behold, there was a woman who had a disabling spirit for 18 years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself.
12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.”
13 And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.
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.”
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?
16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom satan bound for 18 years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?”
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.
It’s really a pretty simple story, but it becomes in my unnecessarily complex. Jesus saw a woman in the synagogue, she may not have seen him, remember, she’s bent over. She didn’t seek out Jesus, either. Luke doesn’t tell us anything else about this woman. We don’t know if she was rich or poor, a family matriarch or homeless, someone who was respected or ostracized. All we know is that she had endured “a spirit” that had crippled her, bent her in half, for the past 18 years.
What I love about this woman whom we don’t know anything about - - - is where was she? She was at worship!! How excellent is that! Maybe she didn’t have pain. Maybe she just lived as a hunchback, but imagine going through life like that. Bent over, not able to enjoy a beautiful sunset. Not able to reach for something over your head. Not able to look someone in the eye.
Also, know that in that day, the people looked at you with disdain if you had some sickness, especially a debilitating one. Jesus challenged the ancient belief that her illness was a direct punishment from God for sin. Remember in that day, and sometimes even today we think it, that there’s a direct correlation between health and sickness and your standing before God. The sicker you were, the greater the sinner you were believed to be. The more prosperous and healthy you were, the greater your standing before God.