This passage is worthy of our contemplation at any time, but maybe even more in the present moment. One of the worst crimes that Jesus points out throughout his ministry is the sin of hypocrisy. Jesus uses this Sabbath occasion to make the point very clear to those around him, and to us, who encounter it today in reading this passage from Luke.

Jesus sees a woman among his listeners who has been deformed and crippled by her sins, who Satan has tortured for eighteen years. We can believe that she has come there to be healed, and that Jesus sees the depth of her desire, so he calls her forward and touches her saying, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Instantly she is able to stand up straight and we can imagine the collective inhale of surprise and wonder in the crowd.

But the synagogue official is irate, even indignant at this. That word “indignant” is revealing here, for it is an emotion that is rooted in pride. Yet, whether he wants to, or not, he recognizes Jesus’ innate authority. So, he directs his indignation toward the woman, being too fearful to direct his comments to Jesus. In doing so, he is trying to reclaim his authority as the religious leader. He says to her, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” Now he has exposed himself to Jesus’ righteous critique and he gets his indignation handed back to him when Jesus confronts him with his hypocrisy. Jesus points out that the synagogue official does not hesitate to untie his ox, or his donkey and lead them to water to drink on the Sabbath. Jesus ups the ante saying, “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?” Well, there it is. “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)

What better day is there than the Sabbath to be healed from the deformity of one’s sins? Or better yet, in some very deep way, ought we not treat every day as the Sabbath? If we did, we would not get caught up in clinging to petty things that divide us from one another, and eventually, God. We would begin to live each day worshipping God with our lives in all that we do. If we did, every day would be the Sabbath, and every wounded soul we meet, maybe even ourselves, would be capable of seeking healing from one another without fear of rejection. If we lived each day as the Sabbath, we might even have enough humble, accepting, and forgiving love within us to be capable of healing one another. This is the life that Jesus calls us to live. We are to be a Sabbath people. We are to live in the way of Christ Jesus, every day.

Lord, help us to see the danger of hypocrisy in each one of us. Give us the strength and the humility to turn away from it and to choose to live each day worshiping you with every part of our lives. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen!

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