Summary: A healing on Sunday set the Rabbi in a tither! The Law was broken! What was this scene about and did God break his own Law?

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August 25, 2013

The Rabbi Bear

Everything was going smoothly at a very elaborate wedding in a large church. The Wedding March was about to be sounded from the pipes by the organist as the wedding party strolled in and took their places.

It was time for the flower girl and her young escort to come down the aisle.

But, the boy stopped at the end of every pew, frowned, showed his teeth, then growled loudly.

After the wedding the groom asked the boy, “Why did you behave so badly? What was the growling about?”

The boy replied, “I was just trying to be a good ring bear.”

We have our traditions and sometimes we don’t even understand them. This is certainly the situation we find in our focus Scripture of Luke 13:10 through 17. Jesus is in the Temple on the Sabbath, and this is not the first time we have read about Him teaching there. However, as you heard moments ago, it wasn’t the teaching that really ticked off the Temple leader, a strict follower of the Law.

You may not have thought much about the effort that goes into teaching Scripture, whether it be on Sunday, Saturday or Wednesday night, but somebody has to study, gather the information then present the message in a way that promotes positive change in lives of the hearers.

If you use computers, you have seen a notice on the screen before you download certain files, that asks, “The software you are about to download will change your computer. Do you want to allow this?” In the context of moral teaching, the same is true. Permission is granted by the fact that you subject yourself to the teaching by either sitting in the pew or classroom, or listening on the radio or viewing by TV, or even reading a book or the Bible. You expect change or reinforcement of values and principals through knowledge by presentation of the Word of God. So yes, you do want to change mental files for a better code of conduct.

Teaching through presentation or preaching is not effortless. The Temple leaders, priests and rabbis forbade the people from doing anything on the Sabbath, which is a directive from the Torah. See Exodus 20:8 through 11. Talk about hypocrital actions! The people are not supposed to work this sacred day but the teachers and leaders are?

As the story goes in Luke 13, Yeshua is teaching without objection, which is, in essence, working. Picture this in your mind. A woman walks into the temple who is obviously crippled. She shuffles in, bent over and cannot walk upright. Modern medicine indicates this condition was likely caused by intensive labor coupled by a lack of calcium in her diet. So, she was likely a hard-working poor woman suffering from malnutrition. Any teacher standing in front of an audience would notice a person walk in who is in that condition because everyone else in the room walks upright. Seeing her, the Master is, as usual, full of compassion for her, and decides to take immediate action without her request to be healed. Verses 12 and 13 describe the scene very well. They read, “Jesus saw her and called her and said to her, “Woman, you are cured of your sickness. And he laid his hand on her and immediately she straightened up and praised God.”

What did Immanuel actually do? He spoke to her and put His hand on her. Oh wow, He must have been exhausted! What horrible work He did on the Sabbath! That’s certainly the Temple leader’s attitude that morning. This guy, supposedly a priest or rabbi, full of criticism, immediately and angrily shouted, “There are six days in which men should work; in these days you ought to come and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” Were these words meant to embarrass Messiah or shut the woman up? Remember, she didn’t ask to be healed, so why was the priest so upset with her? Was the demonstration of the Power of God in this woman’s body so profound on the audience that the leader felt diminished in his role? It certainly appears so. But, was he wrong in his attempt to enforce the law by forbidding work on the day of rest?

The connection the leader failed to make was that the real work was not on the part of Jesus; he just called on the power of God to make this woman well. If it was God who gave the Law, and God who did this, was it not in God’s prerogative to break His own rule, if He was in violation? Was it a breaking of the Law to heal this woman or a misunderstanding by a leader protecting his reputation?

Like the ring bearer at the wedding who failed to understand the word, this Temple leader spoke before engaging his brain. Yet, the incident was an opportunity to teach some important lessons to the crowd. He, Yeshua responded with, “Oh hypocrites, do not each one of you loose his ox or his donkey from the manger, and go with it to give it [a] drink? This one daughter of Abraham, and behold, the adversary has bound her for eighteen years; was it not necessary for her to be loosened from this bond on the Sabbath day?”

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