Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.
Jesus’s healing of a crippled woman on the Sabbath draws a rebuke from the leader of the synagogue. He and others were twisting God’s instruction for us to rest on the Sabbath to fit their own desires, using the Law to control people. God gave us His guidance to show us the way, not to beat each other!
Jesus shows the nonconformity of those who care for their animals on the Sabbath, not to say they are violating the Law, but to show that it is to be applied in love, not judgement. God gave us rules about living and how to treat each other because we had proved ourselves incapable of doing so without His help. Using these gifts to harm each other violates the purpose for which they were given. The best way to show others how God wants us to live is by living for Him, obeying Him, and caring for our brothers and sisters.
When we live in accordance with God’s Law, we should not be irritated or angered by those who don’t, but continue to do His will as an example to the world. This was Jesus way of reaching us, showing us what a life in God was, and that following His Law is not a burden, but a blessing.
Gracious God, we are grateful for Your guidance to show us the way to eternal life. Help us to live by Your Law, in love with You and each other. Amen.