With just about three weeks to Palm Sunday, we will be turning to Luke’s account of what has been called the Perean ministry of Jesus, referring to the area in which he ministered during the time prior to his heading to Jerusalem.
Today’s passage of interest is Luke 13:10-17.
It tells of how Jesus compassionately and miraculously healed a woman of an infirmity which had tormented her for almost twenty years. One would think this would have not only amazed but would have also pleased the religious and so-called righteous folk who were closely following the work of Jesus.
But there was a problem. He healed the woman on the Sabbath – and thus violated their precious rule about not working on that day. It was a day of rest. So, heal her the next day. After all, what’s one more day after twenty years of torment?
Jesus would have nothing of it and was quick to condemn his critics for their legalistic, and extremely insensitive, attitude.
I can’t help but wonder – as many must have in Jesus’ day – how legalism can so quickly squelch love.
As we follow Jesus in the coming days we should ponder carefully how we might be tempted to do that. We should keep watch over our own tendencies to quote scripture, chapter and verse, or advise ritual observance, to the letter, and forget that our God is a God of love, compassion, and healing.
May we listen first, love fully, yes – hold to spiritual truths – but at the same time – heal with our actions and our words in all we do. That is how people will know we are followers of Jesus – by our love. That is how we can, in God’s name, set people free from whatever it is that so cruelly torments them.
Sounds like a good way to spend a Sabbath.