In our lesson this week (Luke 13:10-17), Jesus teaches us about the heart of the Sabbath. It seems the true meaning had been lost in the concern about practices and rules for its keeping. Jesus takes the opportunity to show us what true Sabbath is by healing a crippled woman at the synagogue.
Let’s look at the background some – this is a woman of faith, participating in worship despite her long term infirmity. The scripture doesn’t indicate that she is shunned or mistreated by her community, but she is certainly not able to be involved fully due to her condition. Although she does not come to Jesus and ask to be made whole, Jesus heals her and her immediate response is to stand up straight and praise God!
We might expect the congregation and synagogue leader to rejoice with her, celebrating God’s blessing to all of them. Instead, the leader is angry that Jesus has done this and accuses Him of working on the Sabbath. What kind of person is angry when someone else receives a blessing?
As we have discussed, the leader may have been truly concerned with the laws regarding Sabbath, but if that is case he has missed the meaning God intended. Jesus responds with a practical example of caring for livestock on the Sabbath, and how much more we should use Sabbath day to care for each other. We miss the heart of the teaching by only remembering the rules. Jesus wants us to see that true Sabbath is about our relationship with God and each other, not just a set of instructions.
Loving Lord, we are often foolish in our attempts to follow Your way, seeing only the edges intended to keep us on the path and not the joy of being on the way with You. Give us Sabbath hearts all the days of our lives to worship You and share the Good News with others. Amen.