Summary: This sermon begs the question... "What should we do on a Sunday?"
Luke 13:10-17 10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity." 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. 14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, "There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath." 15 The Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?" 17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.
“What’s a Sunday for?”
Trouble in the text:
Jesus: (Jesus tries to heal the crippled woman) My poor woman, why don’t you come over here so I can help you.
Ruler: Uh… I’m sorry Mr. Jesus… but uh… you can’t do that!
Jesus: Uh… why not?
Ruler: Because were in church!
Jesus: So I’m not supposed to help people in church.
Ruler: Not on Sunday anyway… nobody gets anything out of Sunday’s here. Come back tomorrow on Monday, our office hours are 8am to…
Jesus: Office hours? Really.
Ruler: Sure… would you like to make an appointment.
Jesus: No… that’s quite alright… I’m just going to go ahead and heal her now.
Ruler: You can’t do that.
Jesus: Why not?
Ruler: Please don’t tell me this is going to turn into one of those “Whose on First bits” I already told you… because this is Church and this is Sunday.
Jesus: So, I’m not allowed to glorify God by curing, saving, or helping anybody, in a church… on a Sunday?
Ruler: That’s right. You’ve got it now.
Jesus: So what is Sunday for then?
Ruler: Well Joe uses it to catch up on his sleep. The rest of us sit quietly and pretend to listen to the pastor. Then we go home and watch this amazing new game the kids have invented passing this pointy ball to each other. That’s what Sunday’s are for.
Jesus: And what about the sick, the poor, those who are in desperate need of help and love?
Ruler: Oh, they can watch the game too!
Jesus: That’s it… I can’t take it anymore. Woman… you are set free from your infirmity.
Ruler: Great… Just great. You’ve helped somebody… in a church… ON a Sunday! What is the world coming to? This isn’t what Sunday’s are for!
Jesus: So… what is Sunday for?
What IS Sunday for? Jesus always seems to find a fight doesn’t he? Wherever he goes… whatever he does… it seems there is some conflict that is waiting for him. Even here, in our passage today, he is at church… teaching… in the middle of giving the sermon perhaps… when he stops dead in his tracks to heal a woman who has been crippled for eighteen years. The religious authorities take exception to that, and call Jesus out. Healing this woman, is going to cause… yet another crisis. Though… I’m sure Jesus thought… “If healing this woman causes a crisis… than a crisis it has to be.” You see… this town needed a little help understanding what Sunday’s were for.
Trouble in our world:
What IS Sunday for? Do we know any better today? Many people today would tell you that they can find God out in nature… out in a fishing boat… out on the golf course… indeed sometimes any place… but in a church. It almost begs the argument of why we need church at all? Sunday can still be a day of rest! Sunday can still be a day of honoring God! Isn’t it better that I commune with God doing something I love… rather than doing something my parents had to DRAG me to as a child? What is the point of going to church on a Sunday morning and wasting half of my day?
Sunday is for family! Sunday is for rest! Sunday is for fun! Sunday… is for FOOTBALL! Isn’t that… what a Sunday is for? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. However… there are times when we, like this town in our scripture text today, need to be reminded what Sunday is REALLY all about.
Grace in the text:
In order to get to the real heart of what is going on in the text this morning… I need to teach you another Greek word: luo. If you are even going to attempt to become a Greek scholar… this is the first word you’ll ever learn and you’ll use it over and over and over and over. From your very first declension to your last, you will use luo as the base word to form your constructions. Like gradeschoolers, you’ll repeat by rote the first declension: luo, lueis, luei, luomen, luete, luousi. Anyone like to venture a guess what this word means? To loose. To untie that is. The first declension translates to I loose, you loose, he-she-it losses, we loose, you-all loose, they loose. Over, and over, and over again… you are loosing stuff as you learn the Greek language. I know they picked it because it has such a very simple and pliable root… but I thought they could have done much better choosing a word that actually meant something. I mean… there really wasn’t a lot of loosing or untying going on even in Jesus’ day. In fact, I was a little disappointed that this word I had learned so well… had been used so little in the bible. A handful of times at most!