August 21, 2022

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

  • First reading and Psalm
    • Jeremiah 1:4-10
    • Psalm 71:1-6
  • Alternate First reading and Psalm
    • Isaiah 58:9b-14
    • Psalm 103:1-8
  • Second reading
    • Hebrews 12:18-29
  • Gospel
    • Luke 13:10-17
Woman with an Infirmity of Eighteen Years
1886-1896 Tissot, James
Brooklyn Museum
New York, NY

The gospel from Luke:
Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And 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. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.

But 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.” But 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? And 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?”

When 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.

Pastor Stevensen told about how he took his two children when they were very young to the grocery store to return bottles and cans. The children inserted the cans and bottles and collected the deposits. The daughter when arriving back home would show how much they had earned. The child was focused on what she alone did. We go about the world in much the same way and play a small role. Jesus came to the synagogue and there was a woman who had been crippled for eighteen years. Jesus had compassion and saw healing as freeing her from bondage. The leader of the synagogue was offended. He needed to keep order there and his basis for offending Jesus’ actions was that the Jews do not work on the Sabbath. He suffered from a small perspective and Jesus had a broad perspective. To Him the sabbath was a day of rest, but also healing and restoring. Our modern perspective also is narrow. We often feel that God cannot do anything, that we live in a world that is broken, for example in the Ukraine, that evil holds us in bondage, that evil runs wild and we cannot do much about it. When will God deliver us from evil? He sent his Son. Liberation is underway. . . . .

# # #

Comments are closed.