The Sabbath was a frequent point of contention between Jesus and the religious leaders of Israel. Whether the Pharisees were upset because Jesus healed on the Sabbath (Luke 6:6–11; 13:10–17) or because His disciples picked and ate grain on that day (Matthew 12:1–14), Jesus often confronted them regarding the Sabbath and gave new insight into how it should be understood.
In today’s passage describing the healing of the woman with the bent back, Jesus highlighted the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. They treated their animals better than they did the poor and needy among them. Jesus’ constant pattern was to affirm the value of the people He ministered to rather than the human laws He may have been violating. By doing so, He proved that He was indeed the Lord of the Sabbath.
It wasn’t surprising when Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize. True to form, she received the award “in the name of the hungry, of the naked, of the homeless, of the blind, of the lepers, of all those who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society.” Those were the people she ministered to for most of her life.
Jesus modeled how to care for and love the marginalized, regardless of circumstances. Unlike the synagogue leaders who respected the Sabbath law more than the sick (Luke 13:14), when Jesus saw an ill woman at the temple, He was moved with compassion. He looked beyond the physical impairment and saw God’s beautiful creation in bondage. He called her to Him and said she was healed. Then He “put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God” (v. 13). By touching her, He upset the leader of the synagogue because it was the Sabbath. Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:5), compassionately chose to heal the woman—a person who had faced discomfort and humiliation for nearly two decades.
I wonder how often we see someone as underserving of our compassion. Or maybe we’ve experienced rejection because we didn’t meet somebody else’s standard. May we not be like the religious elite who cared more about rules than fellow humans. Instead, let’s follow Jesus’ example and treat others with compassion, love, and dignity.
Reflect & Pray
How have you experienced God’s healing and touch? Who can you show compassion to this week?
Jesus, thank You for Your infinite love and incredible compassion for all humans, including those marred by disease and difficulties.