Once again, Jesus does a miracle on the Sabbath and offends the ruler of the synagogue. This time the person He heals is a woman who has a crooked back for eighteen years. I haven’t taken the time to double-check, but it seems that whenever Jesus heals someone while He is teaching in a synagogue, it’s on His own initiative; they didn’t ask Him to do it. The ruler of the synagogue is mad at Jesus for “doing work” on the Sabbath, but the way he addresses the people makes it sound like he blames the woman: “Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” (v. 14)
Jesus calls him out, calling him a hypocrite. Most people were farmers, and even those that weren’t probably had livestock of some kind to care for. Even on the Sabbath, you made sure to provide food and water to them, even if the rules and traditions said those actions were considered some kind of work.
When I started writing this post today, I wasn’t sure what to do about the “therefore” in verse 18. The analogies of the mustard seed and the leavened dough to the kingdom of God looked reasonable, but I couldn’t connect the ideas back to healing on the Sabbath. I think it clicked when I started thinking about how our love for God, and the desire to do His will slowly fills up our lives. It starts small, and as we are sanctified over time, we become more and more like Christ and fit for His kingdom. While the Sabbath was to be kept holy, set apart as a day of worshipping God, we aren’t to be any less holy during the rest of the week. As we practice righteousness, our good works benefit our environment, from our families and friends to wildlife and ecosystems.
Make us holy as You are holy.