Freedom in Compassion (Luke 13:10-17)

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 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. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 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?”

17 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)

 Learn it:

            This is now the third time Jesus has healed someone on the Sabbath in front of Pharisee’s.  This story is very similar to the other three.  In this story, there is a woman who has been physically disabled for 18 years.  It also points out that the problem she was experiencing was caused by an evil spirit.  Jesus sees her, has compassion, and then heals her.  At this healing the Pharisee’s are upset!  According to them, if this had happened on any other day it would have been a cause for celebration.  Since it was done on the Sabbath, it broke God’s commandment and therefore was a sin.

            Jesus is showing that the new law he is bringing is going to change things a bit.  There is going to be more emphasis on compassion, grace, and mercy.  It’s not to say the Law is unimportant.  It is just that part of obeying God is showing compassion to others.  That is the point he was making in showing how the Pharisee’s showed compassion to their animals by walking them to get water.  How much more should we show mercy to someone who is enslaved by an evil spirit?  By healing her it gave her the ability to rest on the Sabbath day as well.  What better day for someone to be healed by God than on the Lord’s day? 

 Live it:

            This is not the first-time compassion has come up in the book of Luke.  We see the Jewish leaders has a real problem with showing compassion to people.  They always wanted to follow the law.  Which is commendable but when it ignores hurting people then God has a problem.  This is what we call legalism.  It’s a thing we, myself included, get stuck on.  For example, say on a Sunday morning we get a call that someone is sick, hurting or has some other issue where they need help.  Should we tell them we will be there right after church, or skip church and help them immediately?  I think the most compassionate thing we can do would be to skip church and help them right away.  That would be showing the love of Christ to that person. 

            We must have our eyes open to see people in need.  There might be great church activities that we may have to miss if it means we can show God’s love to someone else.  Now, we shouldn’t make a habit of missing things because fellowship with believers is critical to a person’s spiritual walk.  But it should not be something so sacred we cannot ever miss it.  As with all things in life we have to find a balance and be obedient to what the Holy Spirit is calling us to do.


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