Theme of the Week: Meeting the Confused
Bible Verse: “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. 28 So then, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27-28 CSB
Scripture Reading: Luke 13:10-17
Sometimes Christians seem to take a rather gloomy view of the idea of a “day of rest” and find it either oppressive or irrelevant. Paradoxically, some polls suggest that Sunday (the “Sabbath” as it would be now for most Christians) has become the most stressful day of the week for many people!
Jesus would not have been one of them. But whereas the Pharisees were neurotic about what could and could not be done on the Sabbath and created their own rules and regulations around it, Jesus simply enjoyed it as a gift from God that helped to regulate all the days of the week.
Since his Father had blessed the Sabbath (Genesis 2:3), it was the most “natural” thing in the world for Jesus to bless and heal people on it. After all, his healing miracles were little foretastes of the glorious restoration that would take place on the final Sabbath day of resurrection. So, it is no surprise that he noticed a needy woman in the congregation that day. He couldn’t really miss her while he was teaching during the service because she was incapable of standing up straight.
Imagine the scene as Jesus places his hands on the woman—probably on her bent back, don’t you think? You can almost see his hands straightening it out. After all these years of being diminished in stature, she began to stand tall. Would you not shed tears of joy to see Jesus place his hands on someone like that?
Not, apparently, if you were the president of this synagogue. He had invited Jesus to teach—but Jesus, not content with merely preaching God’s word, had worked!
Jesus was full of compassion for this woman. But he was fierce in his response to the ruler and his friends. They were “hypocrites” (v 15). They condemned this woman for being healed on the Sabbath, but they had no hesitation about untying their donkey and leading it to get a drink of water before the synagogue service.
Sin is always inconsistent, and Pharisees exist all over the place. There is the religious variety, of course, as here. And there is the secular variety. Sinners can never be consistent. But saints are called to be precisely that. And one area in which we should seek to be consistent is in “[calling] the Sabbath a delight” (Isaiah 58:13). To be like Jesus: to use it well. That has a knock-on-effect. It helps you to use the rest of the week well too.
There were at least two people in the service that day who called the Sabbath a delight. Jesus was one; the crippled woman became the other.
Taken from To Seek and to Save, by Sinclair Ferguson, ©2020 by The Good Book Company, used by kind permission.
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