When faultfinders want to find faults, they find them! Right before this synagogue leader’s eyes, a woman who had suffered for eighteen years was instantly healed. And what did he see? He didn’t see a woman who was healed, he saw a man who sinned by “working” on the Sabbath, performing a healing. His words revealed what was in his evil heart and his actions exposed his hypocrisy. Jesus said that everyone takes care of the needs of his animals on the Sabbath day, doing things that could be classified as work but nevertheless are considered unavoidable responsibilities. If it is acceptable to take care of animals on the Sabbath, is it not all right to take care of people on the Sabbath? Certainly it is. Just as in our day, some people of Jesus’ day placed a higher value on animals than on people!
By the same token, some modern Christians seem to want to take all the enjoyment out of Sundays on the basis that we should “keep the Sabbath holy.” They demonstrate a similar attitude to that of the synagogue leader. Certainly our Sabbath, which most Christians practice on Sunday, not Saturday, is a special day in which we can focus even more on spiritual things. But to forbid children to play on Sunday afternoons, or to say that it is a sin to fix a meal on Sunday to serve hungry people, is not what God had in mind when He gave the Sabbath commandment.
Q. What should have been the response of the synagogue leader?
A. He should have begun to praise God with the woman who was healed, and then fall on his face before Jesus, repenting of his sins and asking for forgiveness.
Q. Jesus said that Satan had held the formerly-crippled woman in bondage for eighteen years. What does this tell us about the source of sickness and God’s will concerning healing?
A. It tells us that Satan is the real source of sickness. This also provides additional proof that God wants us well, since the devil is His enemy and the Bible says that Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil (see 1 John 3:8).
Application: Can you imagine being bent double for eighteen years, unable to stand up straight all that time? Think of how excited and thankful this woman must have been when Jesus healed her. For us, this story is one more proof that Jesus is the Son of God, and it should encourage us to look to Him to grant us the miracles we need in our lives. He is full of compassion.