On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”
The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your 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?”
When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.
Before I jump into the devotional this morning, I feel like I need to say something about the ongoing election.
Many folks are feeling fragile in the midst of the not knowing. Some are feeling hurt and angry. Some are grieving deeply. You may be someone who is able to disconnect from the emotion of what is happening in our world, recognize that many can’t.
If you’re able to disconnect, your challenge is to extend empathy and compassion. You can not understand why people are feeling the way they are feeling and still extend love, empathy, and compassion.
If you’re feeling all the anxiety and heartache and worry and anger then the challenge is going to be to not project those emotions on those closest to you.
As someone with societal and cultural power in our world, I understand that it’s easy for me to stand outside and watch with limited emotional engagement. I know that I can speak out seeming platitudes.
Please know that if you need someone to grieve with I am here. Don’t hesitate to reach out.
The religious leaders were “indignant” because Jesus healed on the Sabbath.
Their religious piety was blinding them to the pain and hurt of the woman in their midst. For 18 years this woman had suffered a debilitating spirit. Jesus meets her on the Sabbath and heals her. Then he chastises the religious leaders for caring more for an ox or donkey than they do the woman.
They were humiliated.
Those in power humiliated by a single act of radical love. A single act of going against the norm because Jesus loved this woman, a daughter of Abraham. He saw in her worth, value, and the image of God. Jesus saw her personhood and healed her through an act of love.
How many people like this woman are around us?
How many people are not experiencing healing because of our false religious piety?
Sometimes our desire to look religious gets in the way of doing the work of love. We want other religious folks to see how good we are and to receive the kudos of doing so.
Yet, sometimes our desire to look the part gets in the way of living out the values we say we have.
They were humiliated.
Isn’t it a little sad that the religious leaders were humiliated by love?
This humiliation that comes by love is one of those things that is shocking.
It’s shocking because we don’t think love actually has that kind of power.
We think of love as some sort of
Real love, Jesus-love, is anything but weak.
It’s real and
It has the ability to humiliate those who choose anything other than love.
Love has the ability to change the systems that are designed to keep people sick.
Love is the ultimate power.
Love, does indeed win.