Scripture: Luke 13:10-17
By Michaela Eskew
“Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, ‘There are six days of work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.’” Luke 13:14
In today’s reading, Jesus is back to healing on the Sabbath. This time he is challenged with the claim that he could heal on another day, he doesn’t need to break the Sabbath laws. While this is very true, Jesus immediately responds to the synagogue leader with a harsh scolding. If this woman has been suffering for eighteen long years, it is better for her to be healed as soon as possible than to let her suffer one more minute let alone another full day. Jesus is responding in empathy with this woman and reprimanding the synagogue leader for not seeing the great pain and need that the woman was in.
Again, this story challenges our idea of Sabbath and its importance in our weekly routine. We could likely argue our way into believing that the yard-work or last-minute grocery shopping is just as important as taking our donkey out to get water. Both are necessary tasks; both are chores that need to get done. But there is a difference. Jesus is speaking in terms of caring for creation and others. Taking the ox or donkey out for a drink is maintaining their bodily needs and caring for them correctly. Doing the many tasks we often find “necessary” on a given Sunday, under closer look, will likely only help us and not anyone else. Yes, many times our obligations on a Sunday are to other people, our teams, our families, our teachers or bosses, but that is work that could be left for another day. I doubt any of your tasks leave someone dying of thirst or lack of food. Therefore, the importance of Sabbath remains the same. Jesus, though he broke the Sabbath law, never broke what the Sabbath was meant for – giving glory and thanks to God.
After a month of reading and reflecting on Sabbath, what does Sabbath mean to you? How is God challenging you to take more Sabbath in your weekly routine? What does it look like and how might it change the rest of your week?
Prayer: Lord, you are the great healer. Help us to recognize the daily tasks that pull us away from the much-needed healing you provide in the Sabbath. Challenge us to see the holes in our schedule and not to fill them. Amen
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