Thursday, October 18, 2018

Healing on the Sabbath

"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” (Luke 13:14).

Luke tells us that on a certain Sabbath Jesus was teaching in the synagogue. He encountered a woman who had been crippled for eighteen years. So severe was her malady that she could not straighten up at all. Jesus took pity on her, and, without her asking, healed her (Luke 13:10–13).

Suddenly, Jesus was interrupted by a self-righteous official who criticized Him for healing people on the Sabbath. This man used his distorted moralism as a pretext for attacking Jesus’ work.

Jesus immediately rebuked him and his associates. “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?” (vv. 15–16). Jesus’ point was this: You put forth effort on the Sabbath in order to give rest to your animals. Thus, what is wrong with putting forth effort on the Sabbath to grant restoration to a human being?

We read that “when he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing” (v. 17). When Jesus taught and acted, there was a split reaction. Remember when Jesus explained that His ministry would divide the people. Just so, we need to realize that any Christian ministry is divisive. We cannot please everyone. Community evangelization, for instance, disturbs some people, sometimes even the “pious” in the church. All the same, Jesus calls us do the right things, and if opposition arises, we look to Him. He knows what it is like to face opposition.

Christians traditionally have visited the sick and infirm on Sundays in order to bring the healing ministry of Christ and His love to those who are unable to attend worship. Is there any such ministry in your church? Make a list of ways you can make the Christian Sabbath a more redemptive occasion in your community, church, and home.