10 And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your sickness.” 13 And He laid His hands on her; and immediately she was made erect again and began glorifying God. 14 But the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, “There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, 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 stall and lead him away to water him? 16 And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17 As He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him.
Okay, I’m back. Sort of. Things are still busy, but I have some time to write.
This is a simple passage with a simple message. It is once again a contrast between Charity and the religions we choose to practice. That the Pharisees were followers of Judaism doesn’t matter. The same lesson and the same tendencies towards err lend themselves just as well to our Christianity and our churches.
Jesus cared. The Pharisees cared too, but they cared about their religion. Jesus offended their religion by putting human need above their traditions, their rules, and their beliefs. You won’t find a passage related to the Sabbath forbidding helping someone in dire need. But it was interpreted that way nonetheless by these men. So they considered Jesus’ act of compassion work and therefore illegal.
Their idea of God was that God cared more about their rules than He did about a human being.
Their ideas of God were wrong.
I don’t think we’re all that different. We have our own traditions. Our own ideas of God. Our own expectations of what following God means. And there is a tendency to elevate those above the very real needs of actual living breathing human beings.
Jesus even points out their hypocrisy in that they cared more for their own personal possessions and their well-being than they did for this woman.
To which again, I should say that if our religion blinds us to the human suffering in front of us or restrains our hand from action, then our religion is worthless.
But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
Let’s be aware of the people around us. Talk to them. Engage them. And if we see someone in need, let us do what we can to help them.