Luke 13:10-17 :
He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath day. Behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and she was bent over, and could in no way straighten herself up. When Jesus saw her, he called her, and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and immediately she stood up straight, and glorified God.
The ruler of the synagogue, being indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the multitude, “There are six days in which men ought to work. Therefore come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day!”
Therefore the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each one of you free his ox or his donkey from the stall on the Sabbath, and lead him away to water? Ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound eighteen long years, be freed from this bondage on the Sabbath day?”
As he said these things, all his adversaries were disappointed, and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.
When we look as closely as we have at Jesus’ life and words, it doesn’t take long for us to read something He says or does that challenges our way of thinking, or that puts us outside of our comfort zone. When we really look at what the Bible says, we see the difference between what we assumed or what people have told us about Jesus, and what was really recorded in the Bible about Him.
We read here that that Jesus wasn’t the one that many had hoped for. To this very day, many Jews continue in disbelief of their Messiah for this very same reason. Jesus doesn’t live up to their expectations even though there are very good explanations for their arguments against Him.
Self-righteousness that is often coupled with legalism can help a person set up expectations of righteousness that are very inaccurate as we see in this passage. Jesus saw a poor woman while He was teaching on the Sabbath in the synagogue and stopped to lay His hands on her to heal her. The “ruler of the synagogue” found this inappropriate and told the crowd to stop coming to Jesus to be healed on the Sabbath because that is “work” and work can’t be done on the Sabbath.
Instead of supporting the ruler’s decision, Jesus severely and publicly rebuked him. He accused the ruler of valuing his donkey more than “a daughter of Abraham.” The fact that Jesus’ adversaries were “disappointed” because He said these things, tells us that they expect a different kind of Messiah. Perhaps they expected one who was more interested law following (and law followers) than loving and saving those in need. Aren’t you thankful that Jesus came to save, not just to reward law followers?
By sharply rebuking these leaders, I believe Jesus attempted to move some of them closer to the realization that they were guilty of the sin of lying with their lives (hypocrisy.) I believe it was absolutely necessary that Jesus be “sharp” with them in order for them to realize their own need and come humbly in repentance to God.
The question we have when we don’t like what Jesus is saying is: “Will we accept what He says and repent of our ways, or will we be disappointed with Jesus because He doesn’t fit our expectations and reject Him?”