The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by Caitlin Shewell-Cooper. Caitlin is from Nottingham and works in publishing.

Luke 13:10-17

Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath

10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 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. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity." 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

14 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."

15 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? 16 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?"

17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.


This passage is such a challenge in so many ways, especially in these difficult times. How can Jesus be our example?

In a time when in person church services across the world are shutting down, it is important to note that Jesus allowed his teaching to be interrupted. We don't even know what he was preaching on that day (you might think Luke would want to take notes) but instead Jesus' focus is on action.

He identifies someone needing help and healing and is an instant blessing to them, despite the religion-loving synagogue leader's protestations. Perhaps this time away from the comforts of a church building might enable us to identify what Jesus' calling for us in our community might be. Let ‘our' teaching be interrupted.

Although, at first I wondered why the woman in this extract was not named by Jesus. But I read a commentary which says that Jesus gives her a blessed name through calling her 'the daughter of Abraham'. The commentary says "this name stresses the woman's membership in the covenant community." So Jesus not only heals the woman (providing for her need - taking action even when it is difficult) he names her and identifies her as part of his family (brings her into community more deeply.) Can this be a lesson in how we support those in need in our areas at this time?

Father God, help us to look to you even when times seem dark. Help us to support the vulnerable in our local areas, and also to see them as full and beautiful members of our community, just as you do. Amen

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