Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done.
Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.” The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day
from this bondage?” When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him. (Luke 13: 10-17)
Today’s Gospel passage tells another beautiful story of a miracle of Jesus. It also reminds us of how hypocrisy can affect our vision and our judgement.
But it really is about much more. It’s not about the miracle. It’s about teaching us a larger lesson … proclaiming a wider mercy, love, and grace not just because of what Jesus does in those magical moments – but because of how and why and when and where and for whom, in most cases, God does what God does through Jesus.
Think about it this way.
When Jesus restores the sight of a blind man, it was about showing that God doesn’t punish us with sickness or disability. It was about showing, perhaps that, even if you believed that his blindness was the result of some sin, God could and would and does delight in undoing that through the power of forgiveness. When he calmed a storm, he was revealing the power of God’s peace in the presence of our fear. When he cleansed the leper, it was about God’s love for the outcast and the outsider in our midst.
Jesus’ greater point and larger purpose then and today, is to heal and to comfort and to share love and grace at all costs. In excess of every expectation. At the expense of every rule. Because the only rule that matters to Jesus is the one about loving God and loving neighbor and living in any way and every way possible that brings that love to affect the world around us. And to remind us that we are called to live beyond the “rules”.
We can’t heal every disease, but we can love one another through the sickness and struggle and sadness of them all – and that’s a miracle. We can’t change the weather, but we can trust God’s presence when the storms of our lives come – and that’s a miracle. We can’t undo every sin, or change every sinner, but we can accept and offer forgiveness – and that’s no small feat. We can’t walk on water, but we reach out to an outcast or an outsider and welcome them in – and that work wonders in the lives of God’s people.
And the greatest miracle of all? In a world of rules, in the ravage of a pandemic, in the midst of sadness, anxiety, depression, loneliness, we can be set free from all that emotional and physical bondage. Set free from the bitterness in our soul because we have succumbed to the ways of the world and not seen the light in front of us. We can live in the miracle of new life and new hope and second chances.
All we have to do is see beyond the miracle. To understand what Jesus told us through His life. When we live a life that is centered on loving God and loving our neighbor, we bring a love that affects our world and affect every fiber of our being. THEN, we have lived a miracle!
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, you grant freedom to those who seek you. Give me freedom to walk in your way of love and to praise and worship you always. Show me how I can bring your mercy and healing love to those in need around me.”
Jesus healed on the Sabbath because God does not stop from showing his mercy and love, ever. God’s word has power to change us, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Is there anything that keeps you bound up or weighs you down? Turn it over. Turn it over again and again and again until it is gone. Turn it over by believing. Turn it over by never giving up hope. Turn it over knowing that His love exists for you and me. Forever.