Luke 13:10 – 17
10Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” 13When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” 15But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” 17When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.
Jesus was teaching in the synagogue – Luke does not say exactly where, but says in one of the synagogues. And it was the sabbath. And in the middle of Jesus’ teaching, a woman came in – women were allowed in a portion of the synagogue reserved for them; they were not allowed to participate in the discussion going on among the men, and they were expected to sit quietly. But this woman interrupted, disturbed the status quo, made those in authority angry. And why would she dare such a thing? Because for 18 years she had suffered, and she was tired of the suffering.
This woman had been crippled for 18 years – she could walk but she could not straighten her back – she walked all bent over. And Jesus saw her, and he called her over, and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” And he laid his hands on her and she was immediately healed and stood up straight, and began praising God!
But the authorities – the Pharisees – were furious! Not only had she interrupted, but Jesus had healed her – and they considered healing to be work. They started scolding the people, come on other days to be healed, not on the sabbath. But Jesus responded, they free their donkey or cow from its manger and lead it to water on the sabbath; why should this woman not be freed from what has bound her for eighteen years? And the people followed his logic and the authorities were shamed.
Having gotten the better of the argument, however, did not help Jesus – it only made those who opposed him more determined! He made them look bad! They were absorbed in their rightness – and they were bound and determined not to change. This rabbi traveling around was leading people astray, breaking rules, changing things; the entrenched and fearful do not like for things to change – they are threatened. But Jesus came, and he changed everything. They would seem to win – they would get him killed – but he would rise, even from the dead, and continue changing things!