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Luke 13: 10 – 17

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 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.  When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are free from your infirmity.”  Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.  Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work.  So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”  The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites!  Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?  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?”  When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.

Proverb 16: 25 reads, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” It is easy to get tied down to our way of doing things and our traditions and no longer serve the cause they were meant to address. Even in our religious service we can lose sight of what is meaningful. So was the case of the ruler of the synagogue. He was willing to do what was necessary to take care of his oxen or donkey and would not have criticized anyone else for doing the same yet he had no compassion for a child of God. He had lost sight of the love of God and even basic logic.

The most amazing thing to me in this passage is that the synagogue official said to the people that there were six days in a week for healing so for them to come be healed on one of those six days. If my math is correct that allows 5634 days for the woman’s healing because she had been bent over and persecuted by the evil spirit for eighteen years. Why didn’t the synagogue official or one of the priests heal the woman on any one of those 5634 days? What a hypocrite!

There was no love of God operating in that official. There was no ministry to the people of God’s heart. I can imagine that Jesus was enraged. It is surprising to me that he didn’t call fire down from heaven right then. What tolerance and patience he had!! 

The synagogue official served the Sabbath but not the people. God did not set up the Sabbath so that people could serve it but rather so that they would remember how much He loves them and how he led them out of Egypt and cared for them, finally leading them into the Promised Land. 

Ultimately the official probably was embarrassed because he realized that he should have healed the woman long ago. Many times criticism does come from guilt feelings and shame. So the message today is that we should be very careful about criticizing others, especially when they are serving the people and secondly, today is the day of healing. Receive your healing today or lay your hands on someone for their healing. There is no better day than today.

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