She did not cry out for healing or seek to touch the hem of his garment. He did not tell her that her sins were forgiven. Instead, he called out to her, telling her that she was set free from her infirmity. He touched her and healed her even though it was the Sabbath. She stood up straight, her dignity restored. For the first time in 18 years, she was able to look someone in the eye. The eyes she saw were the eyes of Jesus, and she began praising God. But the religious leaders, charged with reading and faithfully teaching the law, told the crowd that that the Sabbath was not a time for healing, that they should go away and not seek miracles on this day. Jesus rebuked them, pointing out the hypocrisy of their interpretation of the law, which allowed animals release from their restraints but not people from their bondage. The religious leaders were put to shame, and the crowd rejoiced at the wonders Jesus was doing.
Are we any different from the religious leaders of Jesus’ time? Do we allow our interpretation of scripture to stand in the way of people’s desire for God to act in their lives? Do we look deeply into our hearts and weed out hypocrisy based on a too rigid belief regarding how God is to act in the world?
Are our faith communities places where dignity is restored and people are set free from bondage?
Anne Knighten is a junior in the MDiv-DL program at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. She lives in Redlands, CA
©2017 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.