On Tuesday, we heard from the synagogue leader. Today, we hear from Jesus:
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?”
Jesus makes her welcome. He makes her welcome by speaking to the accusers.
This woman – she’s still right by Jesus.
A daughter of Abraham – she’s part of the family, part of the promise, with roots that go before the rules of Moses.
Bound by Satan – not her fault
18 long years – she has suffered and suffered, more than a day, for a full generation, for as long as many in the community have known her. For Jesus’ full adulthood.
Be set free on the Sabbath. Because the sabbath isn’t for bondage, it’s for freedom from work because we rest in God.
Jesus called her, not because of her faith, not because she asked, but because she was in so much bondage that she couldn’t imagine freedom. For those who are in that same kind of bondage, Jesus calls, too. Not to fix ourselves but to listen for him.
To walk through the expectation and judgments and come to Jesus.
In the front of that synagogue that day, were two people.
A synagogue leader and Jesus.
In the lectionary, the story from Luke is paired with words from Hebrews, inviting us to think about that woman in that synagogue that day, walking to the front of the room.
“You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
The woman walked forward afraid of mount Sinai. She found mount Zion.
So can we.