One Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your sickness.” Then He put His hands on her, and immediately, she could stand up, and she praised God. Angered, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work, so come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” Jesus answered the leader of the synagogue, “You hypocrite! Don’t you untie your donkey on the Sabbath and lead them to get a drink? Even so, it was necessary for me to heal this woman who had been suffering for over eighteen years.” (Luke 13: 10-16)
You see, the rule was that no one was to work on the Sabbath, but even on the Sabbath, the animals had to be watered, so the people led the animals to get a drink which would have been considered work. It would have been cruel to make animals suffer without water all day. Jesus applied this task to the crippled woman. It would have been cruel not to heal her no matter what the day was – to make her suffer any longer.
You see, Jesus was always more concerned with helping people than He was about keeping rules. Rules are good, but people are more important. Our religion is more than just following rigid rules; it’s about loving God and helping others.
Let’s pray. Dear Jesus, help us to remember that You taught us that helping people is more important than just keeping rules for the sake of rules. Let us always help and love others just as You did with the crippled woman. Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church.