Summary: Two cripples but only one is healed...
Trinity 12 KB 22-08-10.
Luke 13:10-17: Sabbath Prejudices.
Story: An organist was practicing one day in a great church in Europe.
As he was playing, a man came up to the organ and asked if he could play. The organist looked at him and thought to himself.
“I shouldn’t let this man play, just look at him, he is unshaven, his clothes are soiled, he looks like a down and out.”
So he told the man no.
But the unkempt stranger asked again and again.
Finally the organist let him play thinking he couldn’t play very long, for what does a down and out know about organs.
The down and out’s fingers danced over the keyboard in a way the organist hadn’t heard in his lifetime.
The stranger played on and on.
The organist was spellbound.
When the stranger got up to leave, the organist could not contain himself and said
"Who are you - what is your name??"
As the down-and-out slowly walked away, he turned and said over his shoulder:
"My name is Felix Mendelsohn."
The organist gasped.
He said to himself, " I almost did not let the master play."
The organist had almost let his prejudice get the better of him – and would have missed out on one of the most awesome moments of his playing career.
We all have prejudices which we need to overcome.
This morning’s Gospel reading also deals with Prejudices and in this case - the prejudice that the Sabbath was so holy that you can’t even heal on the Sabbath.
Jesus dealt with the prejudice by healing one of the two cripples who met him in our Gospel reading this morning. I would like to ask “which one went away healed”?
The Two cripples
Two cripples, you might ask – I only saw one. Yes, two....
The two people that met with Jesus that morning were - I would suggest to you - both crippled in their own way.
i. The first cripple was, obviously, the woman
She was physically crippled.
One Bible Commentator has said that her deformity was due to
“having the bones of her spine fused in a rigid mass.”
The Scripture tells us that she had been crippled by a spirit for 18 years.
Her disability was obvious.
It was a real miracle to heal her. She went away from Jesus healed.
ii. The second cripple might surprise you. It was the ruler of the Synagogue
He too was crippled by a spirit – the spirit of legalism.
The spirit of legalism can be a real killjoy.
Instead of rejoicing that God had worked a wonderful miracle, he set about to denigrate it.
You might ask, who was he?
The Synagogue was the Church in Jesus’ day. It was the place God’s people went to worship God.
And the Synagogue ruler was the man who ran the services - in today’s parlance the vicar. The people would look up to him for spiritual guidance.
Why did he decide to take issue with Jesus.
Part of the reason might be that he felt miffed that Jesus’ healing was an invasion of his perogative.
But I think the major reason was because what Jesus did - offended his understanding of the law of God.
2. What was the issue?