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Luke 13:10-16- “Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infinity eighteen years and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, ‘Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.’ And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, ‘There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them. and not on the Sabbath day.’ The Lord then answered him and said, ‘Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom satan has bound-think of it- for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?’”


    This passage is rich with understanding and wisdom. However, I will touch on just a bit of that wisdom here. First of all, the devil is the one who bound the woman. Second, the Pharisee was not angry that the woman was healed- he wasn’t even amazed. Why? Evidently this was not something new or unfamiliar to his experience. Third, this Pharisee would have been from the school of Shammaii where he would have been taught that he was responsible for everyone in his congregations’ strict adherence to the takanot** set forth by the Pharisees in order to keep the Torah entirely. Fourth, Jesus equates healing from wicked oppression with drinking water. The understanding then is that both the beasts and the tormented woman knew they needed release in order to survive but both were powerless to help themselves. Finally, on a very practical level, Jesus refers to the Pharisee taking his animals to water on the Sabbath. Specifically these animals are oxen and donkeys. Oxen and donkeys are not like dogs and horses. They don’t naturally want to be with their master, and they are extremely difficult to lead because they are very headstrong. Therefore in terms of actual work output, to lead an ox or a donkey to water- no matter the day- would be abundantly more work than healing was. It was God who was working through Jesus anyway so Jesus, technically, didn’t do anything more than lead the woman to what she really needed for survival. In the same way that the Pharisee would have been the avenue by which the beasts would attain the life-giving water. It is the water that saves the life- not necessarily the particular human by which they are led to water. Jesus was in His humanity on this earth as our example and therefore was simply a vessel for the Kingdom of God to manifest through!

** Takanot- a rule that is made up by the Jews that is more restrictive than the commandments in the Torah. The Jews did this in order to make sure that the people in their congregations would not accidentally commit a sin by breaking a command. These were NOT God’s commands and they are what Jesus was talking about when He said that the “traditions of man make the Word of God ineffective.”

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