The head of the synagogue where Jesus was teaching that Sabbath apparantly was outraged that Jesus healed someone on the day of rest. (But he doesn't think teaching is work? - I beg to differ!) Interestingly enough, he didn't (have the guts to?) confront Jesus over performing the healing. Instead, he tells the congregation, "There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath."
Jesus' response seems to ask, are religious leaders exempt from having mercy or compassion towards people on the Sabbath day? Freeing an ox from its yoke or from its pen is an appropriate way to spend the Sabbath, but freeing a person from their afflictions is not?
Once again, this man laid the burden of always following the rules, as he has interpreted them, on the people. You see, the Mosaic law did not forbid healing on the Sabbath, but the "Tradition of the Elders" did. But God is in their midst now showing them another way to live - a way that trusts in Him to do the right thing, even when it doesn't make sense to us or the Elders ... a way that brings deliverance, not oppression.
So, for a long time I read her story and yet nearly missed the woman. She seemed simply an object lesson to me for Jesus to use to set the religious rulers straight -- but of course a person is never just an object lesson to God.
Now, I notice the woman. I notice that despite her situation, her disability, she is in "church." She is continuing to press into God. She is not staying away in isolation. She is there to hear and obey Jesus' teaching. Jesus sees her in the crowd - no doubt knows every detail of her situation - and calls her over. If she said anything at this point, it goes unrecorded.
She follows Jesus' command to come to Him. And then He gives the command for her body to be healed. It is instantaneous. She stands up straight for the first time in 18 years. She feels the glorious release. At this point, her reaction is recorded - it says "how she praised and thanked God!"
I imagine she felt forever indebted to this Jesus for providing that deliverance. Daily she must've praised God for overcoming for her what she could not.
We too have been healed and delivered by Jesus when He died on the cross. When we call out to Him, or ask for forgiveness in Jesus' name, our souls straighten up. They regain the ability to walk unencumbered with God.
Hum, do I feel any indebtedness to Jesus for that today? How often do I feel grateful for that? That's where her story lead me this time around. How about you? What are your thoughts? Post them and let's talk about it.
Girls, I'd like to ask you to pray for a friend of mine and his two young children. Dan and his wife Angie were in a tragic car accident this past weekend - Angie did not survive. I can honestly say this man loved his wife, through thick and thin. So too, of course, do her two elementary school-aged children. Please pray for Dan, and Brendon and Alyssa. Pray for God's comfort to envelop them. Pray for God's wisdom to guide them. Pray for their hearts to be guarded from any bitterness. Pray for their souls to be lifted up, and for them to walk through this exceedingly difficult time with Jesus. Post your prayers if you wish, but please do pause and pray.