Journal entry 050312: Which do you need?

What do you think? Was Jesus more like William Wallace, or Mother Teresa? Consider this story:

On a Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 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 infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing. (Luke 13:10-17, NIV)

The main point of this Bible story is the confrontation over proper Sabbath observance, but I don’t want to write about that. I am more interested in how Jesus ministered to the two main characters.

The synagogue ruler told all the people if they wanted healing, they should come on a different day, as if healing was a regular part of the worship service. Even though he made his speech to everyone, he clearly aimed it at the poor woman who was standing right there. I wrote in the margin of my Bible, “Boo! Boo!” (Think Princes Bride)

The ruler jumped on the easiest target in the room - the woman who couldn’t defend herself - rather than on Jesus, who did the actual healing. Moreover, he said this heartless thing even while she was standing there. This wasn’t a theological debate between two learned teachers; it was an attack against Jesus taken at this woman’s expense.  What kind of man does something like that? A man whose heart is stone cold and cruel, that’s who. A man I don’t care to know.

My guess is that the woman was a member of the synagogue, one of the ruler’s parishioners. She didn’t appear to be in the synagogue in hopes of finding Jesus; rather, she came as part of her regular worship pattern. She didn’t even ask for healing. Apparently, her physical condition caught Jesus’s eye, and he had to help her.

The synagogue ruler must have known the woman well. He was probably aware of her eighteen years of suffering, and still he scolded her? She had been coming to the synagogue all these years with no healing, and when it finally happened for her, the ruler was upset that it happened on the wrong day. Boo! Boo!

Personally, I think the synagogue ruler was a jerk, and the woman should have gone after him with her cane. However, she, being nobler, chose to praise God instead.

I doubt the ruler would have been so indignant if his back was crooked, if he had been healed.

So back to my opening question: Was Jesus more like Mother Teresa, or William Wallace? That depends on whether you are a crippled woman or a self-righteous leader.


Question: In your life, has Jesus been more like William Wallace or Mother Teresa? Which do you need from him today?


“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32


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