I DISRUPTED THE SABBATH (Lk.13: 10-17).
It was the Sabbath and I had an urge to go to the House of Prayer. I had a condition that did not let me stand up straight. It was believed that God was punishing me for my sins and therefore I was not welcome in the Synagogue. Of course, I could not lay my finger on what I had done to deserve being punished; but since everyone regarded me as being duly chastised, I carried my lot patiently and willingly. On this particular Sabbath, I was not expected to be there, nor did I anticipate that I would become the cause of a disturbance over our precious Sabbath. Now that I look back on the incident, I feel strongly that the Lord did love me and that it was His Spirit that drew me to the Synagogue on that particular Sabbath. It was to be my day to prove to the people with perverted views that in God’s eyes I, too, was a daughter of His chosen people and not some notorious sinner. He wanted me to meet His Son Jesus who would alter my life. In His eyes, I was worth more than an ox or a donkey that could be rescued on a Sabbath.
On this particular Sabbath, there was a new teacher teaching the lesson. As soon as He saw me, He stopped teaching and asked me to come forward. I obeyed and made my way forward, leaning on a cane and trying to raise my head as much as I could and then see no more of the man that was calling me just up to his waistline. For the last eighteen years, I had spent looking at the ground. It was not because I wanted too, but because I could not straighten my back. I could not see people’s faces, neither could they see mine. I was no longer known by name but by my posture. I was called the crippled woman. It was commonly believed that an evil spirit held me captive. This spirit was punishing me for some unknown sin. And my condition was proof that something had gone wrong in my life. It was not just painful, but also embarrassing to live a life stooped to the ground and not being able to enjoy the beauty of nature and the sky, the clouds, the stars, the sun and the moon. I began to shun people for fear of being asked what had happened to me. I avoided being stared at and ridiculed. The only place I went in public was to the synagogue to pray and worship the Lord God. And now, I was standing before Jesus and looked at His feet. I was very tense. I had heard that Jesus was doing the impossible with people like me. Was I going to be one of the fortunate ones, I wondered? I did not have to wait. Jesus addressed me immediately and said, “Lady, you are delivered from your disease!” He had spoken loudly and clearly. Everyone heard what He had said and it was more or less a command. He had driven out the spirit that had plagued me for eighteen years. For eighteen years this evil one had tortured my mind with lies and uncertainties. But, at the voice and words of Jesus, the spirit fled. Then I felt Jesus’ hand touching my back and I began to straighten and stand erect. His hands felt like soft wool and soothing like olive oil. My pain and discomfort were gone instantly. My entire personality was rejuvenated and I began to do something I had never done before in my life. I made a scene not permitted for women to do in a synagogue. I praised the Lord. Yes, I praised Him for my deliverance. I praised Him at the top of my lungs. I praised God with all my heart and all my might. I disturbed the Sabbath twofold. I was made whole and I was a woman. And the one that had just restored my life to being normal again was charged with breaking the Sabbath. Our leader of the synagogue became angry with Jesus and me. I could not understand why he was disturbed at the wonderful miracle that had taken place in his synagogue?
The leader’s words of admonishment were indignant and rude. He followed a law that was more lenient with animals than with humans. He declared, “There are six working days. I should have come on one of those and not on the Sabbath!” He sounded as if we had not just violated the Sabbath but had disturbed God on His day of rest. Jesus, who was now my Lord, had harsher words for our leaders. He addressed them as, “You hypocrites! Who among you, on the Sabbath, unties his ox or donkey and leads them out to drink water? Then why should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound for eighteen long years, not be freed from what bound her?” These were questions that utterly humiliated our leaders. When did they come to the conclusion that the Sabbath was for animals and not for a needy person like me? How could a good system become a hindrance to doing what was right? In my time, the religious system had become a hindrance. Through me, Jesus could demonstrate how wrong it had become and turn it in the right direction. From others, I learned that He taught that the Sabbath was created for man and not man for the Sabbath.
There were two more precious things I learned from Jesus that day. First and foremost, I too was a daughter of the man that was called a friend of God. My sickness had not disqualified me from belonging to the people of God. In fact, my sickness became living proof that God cared deeply for me and had sent His Son Jesus to set me free. The second thing was that a child of God is not exempt from the claws of Satan in this world. Especially, those of us that love the Lord a lot may experience his attacks more intensely. Satan will send his most clever spirit to afflict our physical body so that our faith in God might crumble. I know. I have been there. Satan did make me look guilty, but the Lord made me look right and deserving of His redemption, and that all happened on the Sabbath.