In verse 10, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues again. This is the last of such occasions that Luke records, which some commentators have taken to mean that it was the last time He taught in one. Of course, that does not necessarily follow, and is actually unlikely. The woman there that had a “disabling spirit” had been stooped (bent over) for 18 years, and could not straighten herself.
It is easy to look at these instances and assume (as many do) that it was ignorance of medical and physical problems that caused such events to be attributed to demons. But Luke and the other gospel writers wrote about plenty of sick, blind, lame, and even paralyzed people that were not possessed by demons in that age. So they (and the Lord) clearly knew the difference. And Jesus said of the woman in verse 15 that she was one whom “Satan bound for eighteen years.” It was a phenomenon which we surmise that God allowed to happen beginning some time before jesus’ ministry began (how long before, we just do not know). It was subdued somewhat by Jesus and His disciples (Luke 10:17). It ended at the end of the apostolic age, along with the healing, prophesying, and other miraculous gifts of the age (1 Corinthians 13:8-13).
The “ruler of the synagogue,” of course, was angry at Jesus for healing someone on the Sabbath. But instead of confronting Jesus about it, he told the people who were present that this “work” should be done on one of the other six days. These Pharisees with their laws that did not come from God would expect the best treatment for themselves from everyone all of the time. And as Jesus points out, any of them would unbind their ox or donkey and lead it to water on the Sabbath. By that analogy, He showed that they treated animals better than people who were sick or suffering.
Jesus shamed them (all those Pharisees who were present and agreed with the ruler), calling them hypocrites, and making the point even more relevant by denoting the woman as “a daughter of Abraham.” Did such a woman not deserve to be unbound as well? The others present evidently agreed with this reasoning, as verse 17 says that “all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.”
How often do those who are in need become “invisible” to us today, as we go about our busy lives with much “more important” things? The woman in this passage had been of no consequence to the Pharisees. But Jesus always saw those who were suffering or in need with compassion. Like all people, this woman was made in God’s image, and all of us are important to Him.
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.