Today's Lectionary Text
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.”
Today we read another of Jesus’ healings. I seem to marvel at the healings in the Scriptures, as it seems to be a sign of Jesus’ power and ministry. While it’s something that Jesus does in his ministry of preaching and healing, there seems to be something more, as we see in today’s Scriptures too.
The scene points to 1) a new status for women in the kingdom of God and 2) that the healing was performed on the Sabbath.
The Gospel of Luke gives an account that Jesus is bringing good news for women and men. The good news is an invitation to celebration for all who will receive it – no matter gender and abilities. This was a moment to illustrate that women who are demeaned, denied their proper status, oppressed by religions and social restrictions are equal.
Instead of leaving the story at that, the leader of the synagogue wants to make the issue Jesus’ violation of the Sabbath. This is now Jesus’ third healing on the Sabbath (Luke 4: 31-37, 6:6-11). Instead of arguing when he did it, Jesus returns the focus to the needs and dignity of the woman.
This Scripture came recently to mind when I was in a discussion with a class about the place of Sabbath, in our lives. We talked about the Sabbath practice of taking time to reconnect, rest, rejuvenate, and dedicate a day a week to God. We began talking about what ‘counts’ as Sabbath and what doesn’t. The irony was that it was also right after a sermon about doing justice in the world. It’s a Scripture that we still can wrestle with today.
In today’s world, no matter each day holds, may we always remember to look around us for people who would be freed and empowered by God’s good news. May we be messengers and offer good news every day.
--Rev. Nicole Conard
Young Adults & Campus Ministry Coordinator
Originally published Aug. 21, 2019
Prayer for Reflection
O God, open our eyes to see you this week. Help us to see those around us who need to hear a word of hope, encouragement and love that only comes from you. Give us the courage to offer your grace. Amen.
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