“‘Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath day. In the synagogue there was a woman who had an evil spirit in her. This spirit had made the woman a cripple for 18 years. Her back was always bent; she could not stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, your sickness has left you!” Jesus put his hands on her. Immediately she was able to stand up straight and began praising God. The synagogue leader was angry because Jesus healed on the Sabbath day. He said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come to be healed on one of those days. Don’t come for healing on the Sabbath day.”’ – Luke 13:10-14
Our Grade 5/6 students are leading whole school worship services over the coming weeks and their chosen theme this week was ‘Loving people and doing the right thing sometimes means breaking the rules’.
Jewish people had 613 individual rules they were required to follow as part of their religion. The rule the synagogue leader thought Jesus had broken was ‘do not undertake work on the Sabbath’.
Not working on the Sabbath is indeed an important rule that God has given us. After all, we need to allow our bodies to rest in order for us to undertake our work with joy and competence. But keeping the Sabbath is not just about following rules about rest. It is about honoring God, celebrating his mercies and reminding ourselves of the many blessings we have.
While the synagogue leader felt that the Sabbath was the worst possible day for healing, Christians would see that healing on the Sabbath is probably the best day for healing. What better way to honor God, than to care for a woman who had suffered for so long?
May we remember that even when our lives are busy and we have deadlines to meet, the most important thing is to honor God through doing his will and loving others… even if it means breaking the rules.