10 One Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in a Jewish meeting place, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by an evil spirit for eighteen years. She was completely bent over and could not straighten up. 12 When Jesus saw the woman, he called her over and said, “You are now well.” 13 He placed his hands on her, and right away she stood up straight and praised God.
14 The man in charge of the meeting place was angry because Jesus had healed someone on the Sabbath. So he said to the people, “Each week has six days when we can work. Come and be healed on one of those days, but not on the Sabbath.”
15 The Lord replied, “Are you trying to fool someone? Won’t any one of you untie your ox or donkey and lead it out to drink on a Sabbath? 16 This woman belongs to the family of Abraham, but Satan has kept her bound for eighteen years. Isn’t it right to set her free on the Sabbath?” 17 Jesus’ words made his enemies ashamed. But everyone else in the crowd was happy about the wonderful things he was doing.
This passage is familiar, particularly with the emphasis that Jesus healed someone on the Sabbath. As I see it, this was the first part of the indictment. It speaks to the rigidity the leaders held and enforced concerning the Law.
The Law was never meant to override the needs of people. Jesus made this point clear, when He said, “Won’t any of you untie your ox or donkey and lead it out to drink on a Sabbath?”
It’s like, let’s be real…you are able to take care of your animals on the Sabbath, but a woman gets healed and you have a fit because she was healed on the Sabbath.
They seemed to forget about all those provisional things for people that were also clearly mentioned in the scriptures. It was the Pharisees who decided all that extra stuff. They had over two thousand rules in order to obey the Law and much of it was not based on scripture.
Wow. Sounds a lot like what we hear from much of the Church, these days.
Right after He basically tells them that they treat livestock better than people, He points out two things. First, He says, “This woman belongs to the family of Abraham…”. In other words, “Boys, she is one of your own.” He was showing them that they can’t even take care of one of their own (much less, anyone else) because of their sense of the Law.
He continued, “…but Satan has kept her bound for eighteen years. Isn’t it right to set her free on the Sabbath?”
Set. Her. Free.
For eighteen years she suffered this affliction. It bound her. She was limited. Uncomfortable. Likely, in some pain, too. She was not free. Jesus set her free.
Imagine, being her. No running. No leisurely strolls. In pain. Being considered as “less than”, or at least, feeling that way. For 18 years.
No one really knows what caused her problem. This is probably the reason she was said to have been “crippled by an evil spirit”. Was it stress? Depression? Hopelessness? All of those? It may have been an injury, but my speculation is that her malady was due to an attack on her soul. The father of lies got to her.
Jesus saw the woman and called her over. She was just there, bent over and probably uncomfortable. He was not about to wait for her to ask. As usual, He had compassion. He saw her in her misery, unable to stand straight. He calls her over, places His hands on her as He says, “You are now well.”
This had some impact. The “enemies” were ashamed because…
- Jesus showed the compassion that they would not
- Jesus pointed out they had eighteen years to show some compassion
- He pointed out that they would take better care of their animals on the Sabbath than they did people.
1 John 3:17 (NLT) If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion–how can God’s love be in that person?
Let’s forget the financial reference here, for a minute. Let’s consider the point. If there is something we have or are able to do and we overlook or bypass someone who has a need we can fill, we might lack compassion.
Compassion. To “suffer with”. Empathy. When religious dictates rule over the needs of people, empathy and compassion go right out the window. This was never God’s intention or plan and Jesus demonstrated compassion.
I don’t know about you, but I would like to move forward with compassion. If I have the ability to do something and come across someone that has a need, I want to be one of those who extends a hand of compassion and love.
When people reach out a hand…are we willing to reach and pull them up?