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Sunday's message: Binding and Loosing

Luke 13:10-17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman

10 Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 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. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” 13 When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14 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.” 15 But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” 17 When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

We all know Jesus liked to heal people, but sometimes people took offense with the way he healed people. For instance, in our Gospel lesson for this Sunday, one Sabbath day Jesus heals a woman who has been crippled for 18 years. This woman appears suddenly ("...just then...") so it doesn't appear that he had already met her, had conferred with other doctors who might be attending to her, or even asked her permission. He just calls her over and speaks her into health.

Others wonder why he could not have waited for a more appropriate time...after all, they are in a house of worship. Aren't we supposed to be giving God our full attention and not sick people? Couldn't Jesus have waited till after the Sabbath to cure this woman?

This passage asks us to consider what true worship means, and what true obedience to the Law entails in a world where people are suffering. Sometimes we miss seeing God's priorities because we are caught up in our own. Sometimes we forget that God gives us grace and freewill not just for the salvation of our own souls, but also that we might share his love with a hurting world.

When God sets you free, you are free indeed!

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