Refresh: Open with prayer. Ask God for understanding through the Holy Spirit.
Reflect: I have to admit that it is beautiful to read about Jesus healing this woman (Luke 13:10–17). It is also tragic to read about others being upset that Jesus healed her. Why do people get upset when someone does good? Maybe because the good is done for an enemy. Or maybe because the good is done through a violation of approved “methods.” Maybe even because people often observe that they themselves should have done the good deed and are embarrassed that they didn’t. Jesus was teaching in the synagogue; He knew who was watching Him. Friends, enemies, religious leaders, spies. Some were waiting for Him to fail. Following God had become a horrible exercise of checks and balances in this culture, resulting in a life of fear and shame. So much energy was spent on making sure that everything was done perfectly that they did not enjoy life.
Jesus noticed this particular woman. For over 18 years she had been hunched over, due to the curvature of her spine. She was actually inside the synagogue, which is amazing in and of itself since the Qumran sect preferred to refuse entry to anyone with a disability. Bent over, she could not lift her eyes to the hills and look for help as the Psalmist advices (Psalm 121:1). Even so, Jesus was about to release her. He was about to make her walk straight again, just as Israel was released from slavery in Egypt and allowed to walk upright again (Leviticus 26:13).
The religious leaders at that time believed they knew the will of God. They believed that God commanded that no work be done on Sabbath. This sounds very reasonable, until you get into what “work” actually meant. They saw healing, for instance, as work that should not be done on Sabbath. Jesus came along with the full power of His Father, and in healing on the Sabbath, He demonstrated that He had God’s blessing to do so. This showed the religious leaders that they were wrong. They saw a flash of the future. They saw Jesus take a stand against the evil Satan has wrought on this planet. They saw what the eventual release would be—when we all shall stand spiritually straight. They saw that the Sabbath was made to be a blessing. They saw that it is all about Jesus.
Recalibrate: When you argue about what you think is right or wrong in church or life, are you thinking about yourself or about Jesus?
Respond: Pray for wisdom to see Jesus clearly.
Research: Why did the Qumran sect insist on prohibiting disabled people from entering the synagogue?