“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.” Luke 13:10-17
This week’s devotional has been prepared by the Rev. Mark Roberts and can be found at https://depree.org/series/following-jesus-today/#part113
In today’s passage from Luke, Jesus healed someone on the Sabbath day. And not just someone! He healed a woman who had been severely handicapped for eighteen years. It’s no wonder that, having been healed, she “began praising God” (Luke 13:13).
But not everyone shared in her celebratory praise. The leader of the synagogue in which this healing took place was not pleased. He believed that healing was a kind of work, and work was forbidden on the Sabbath. “There are six days on which work ought to be done,” he objected. “Come on those days and be cured, and not on the Sabbath day” (Luke 13:14).
That’s not how Jesus saw it, however. Noting that law-abiding Jews do certain kinds of work on the Sabbath and that the woman was set free from Satan’s bondage, Jesus put his opponents to shame. Not only were they self-serving in their interpretation of the Sabbath law, but also they were hard-hearted in their failure to celebrate the healing of someone who had suffered for so many years.
Like the synagogue leader in this story, sometimes well-intentioned Christians can get so wrapped in our religious rules that we fail to embrace the kingdom priorities of Jesus. For example, years ago on a retreat with men from my church, a young man named Kurt put his faith in Christ for the first time. The retreat participants and I were thrilled, of course. When Kurt mentioned that he didn’t have a Bible, Bill, one of the men at the retreat, offered to buy him one. So they drove to a nearby Christian conference center that had a bookstore. After Kurt picked out the Bible he wanted, he and Bill went to the cashier so Bill could pay.
“Are you part of our conference this weekend?” the cashier asked. “No,” Kurt said, “I’m at another retreat center nearby.” “Oh,” said the cashier, “then I can’t sell you that Bible. Only our conferees can buy books here.” Bill explained to the cashier that his companion was a brand-new Christian who needed a Bible. Bill expected the cashier to be excited and make an exception to the “only our conferees” rule. But the cashier was adamant. His conference center had rules and that meant he would not sell a Bible to Kurt. Period.
Later that day when I heard what had happened, I said to myself sarcastically, “Great! What a wonderful introduction to Christianity for Kurt. Now he knows that we Christians value our rules more than letting a new believer have a Bible.” But, as I settled into my cabin that night, I wondered if I also had misplaced priorities. Did I value things in the way of Jesus? Or did I sometimes let my preferences take precedence over people?
Today, as I reflect on Luke 13:10-17, I wonder again. Which of my priorities need to be set aside as I adopt the priorities of Jesus? What will change in me as I strive for the kingdom of God most of all?
Annual Church Picnic
Our church picnic will be held on the church lawn on Sunday, September 11th, following service. To pull off this event, we need your help! We’re looking for:
People who can help with set-up
Someone who can lend grills/and or pop-up tents
If you want to volunteer in one of these ways, you can sign up by clicking on this link:
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0C44AEAC2BA1FCC43-volunteer, or you can put your name down on our volunteer sign-up sheet at the back of the sanctuary.
Looking for New Worship Leaders
We are looking for two new worship leaders for the coming year. If you’re interested in or cautiously open to leading worship alongside Pastor Chris, please reach out to him or our Lay Leader, Bruce LaPenta.
Looking for Ushers
In the near future, we are aiming to resume passing around the offering plate during service. However, we need additional ushers to make this work. If you’re interested or open to ushering, please notify Pastor Chris.
Summer Bible Study: The Book of James
Pastor Chris will be leading a bible study on the New Testament book of James during the summer. The last study will meet this Tuesday, August 23rd, at 1 pm.
Donate to Flemington UMC Today