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 leader 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 your 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.
In this passage, Jesus heals a crippled woman on the Sabbath. An argument then developed between a Pharisee and Jesus about the Sabbath law. It is not really about a healing, but the Pharisee used this as a platform to dispute the works of Jesus.
The Sabbath and the crippled woman’s healing is the will of God, Jesus also points to the Pharisee’s hypocrisy, and inconsistency in his interpretation of the law; i.e. they would treat their animals with greater respect than the people they were to care for. Rabbinic interpretation allows them to untie their animals for a drink, but at the same time the Pharisees interpretation of the law stops them from untying this woman from her infirmity.
The Sabbath was meant to be a celebration
of God’s work of creation, and rest for the labourer. It was for good, not harm; it was to be a blessing for people. When Jesus healed the woman on the Sabbath, He recreated, restored, returned her to health and glory and praise was given to God.
Food for thought: we rescue beached whales, we have laws to protect our animals from cruelty, but our laws uphold the murder of our unborn babies. We also spend millions on gourmet dog and cat food, but do we give the same thought to the hungry poor in the world. Do we get angry at petty things that only affect our lives, or do we get angry at the way the devil has killed, stolen, destroyed and caused immeasurable suffering in the world?
Written by Cathy Croft