“He was teaching in one of the meeting places on the Sabbath. There was a woman present, so twisted and bent over with arthritis that she couldn’t even look up. She had been afflicted with this for eighteen years. When Jesus saw her, he called her over. “Woman, you’re free!” He laid hands on her and suddenly she was standing straight and tall, giving glory to God.
The meeting-place president, furious because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the congregation, “Six days have been defined as work days. Come on one of the six if you want to be healed, but not on the seventh, the Sabbath.”
But Jesus shot back, “You frauds! Each Sabbath every one of you regularly unties your cow or donkey from its stall, leads it out for water, and thinks nothing of it. So why isn’t it all right for me to untie this daughter of Abraham and lead her from the stall where Satan has had her tied these eighteen years?”
When he put it that way, his critics were left looking quite silly and red-faced. The congregation was delighted and cheered him on.”
Luke 13:10-17 (MSG)
He had done it again. “Worked” on the Sabbath. Appearing to all the “religious” folks to have broken the law he said he came to fulfill.
The synagogue leaders are understandably upset. After all, it’s their job to teach the law and enforce it. To maintain control. To defend the status quo.
So why does Jesus do it? Certainly, we’ve seen him poke the bear, as it were, any number of times in the gospel accounts. Is his goal simply to shame the religious/political leadership? To disprove their time-honored traditions? To make them look like fools?
Or is there something more happening here? Something bigger? Something that goes beyond the woman and her illness or the synagogue or even the Sabbath itself? Could Jesus be revealing something of his broader agenda in this relatively small gathering?
This Sunday, Aug. 21, we’ll continue our Summer Lectionary Series with a look at the multiple layers of meaning Luke presents in this passage and where it still holds meaning for our lives today. Join us in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company and be part of the conversation!
Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm
Conversation Begins: 7:00pm