Jesus breaks the rules - - man’s rules, not Heaven’s rules. And when He does, we see the character of this God who loves us so much. We see it often. Here’s one story:
“One Sabbath day as Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, he saw a woman who had been crippled by an evil spirit. She had been bent low for eighteen years and was unable to stand up straight.
When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, ‘Dear woman, you are healed of your sickness!’
Then he touched her, and instantly she could stand straight. How she praised God!”
A woman who had suffered the painful, debilitating agony of arthritis, as some translate, had come to the synagogue, not for healing, but because it was the Sabbath.
It’s interesting what we DON'T know about this one whose story has been captured in God’s Holy Book.
We don’t know the difficulty of her journey from bed to meeting place on this day. Did she have help dressing or accompaniment walking? Was she standing with a loved one or alone? Were her thoughts full of praise or crying out? Was this an annual visit or built into her weekly practice of survival of this horrific pain?
We just know she came. And we know her view of life was mostly ground level, literally.
We also know after coming, Jesus took the next step. We have no reason to believe she came to seek healing. But Jesus saw her, apparently right in the midst of his teaching. And when He spotted her, mercy flowed - - the kind of mercy that stopped Him and urged Him toward the brokenness of one bent-over woman.
Then Jesus broke the rules – man’s rules, not Heaven’s rules. He touched and healed her, right then. On the Sabbath. “How she praised God!” Did others join this song of joyful praise, or was she solo-ing?
The leader in charge sure didn’t join the burst of worship in the presence of a miracle. “The leader in charge of the synagogue was indignant that Jesus had healed her on the Sabbath day.” A sad commentary on the state of the synagogue. A priceless treasure for the current and centuries-later believers about the compassion and power of a God who sees us in the crowd.
I pause to consider the day-by-day events of this suffering woman before this miraculous moment happened. And I wonder if she had a friend, or better yet a circle of friends, who loved her in the midst of her pain and likely gradual decline.
The Lord has blessed me with friends in this season of life. Many are new to me. They don’t know either the painful or joy-filled stories of my past. And I don’t know theirs.
But we are listening and sharing our lives. Some have suffered much. Some are suffering now. Some have been healed. And I realize with new friends, I must listen long and hard to really understand where they are in their journeys and how we can travel together.
In The Cry of the Soul, authors Allender and Longman encourage the reader to welcome rather than distance ourselves from the emotions of those around us. Because, they explain:
“Emotions are the cry of the soul. They expose what we are doing
with the sorrow of life and in turn reveal what our heart is doing with God.”
Pull up a chair and sit still
Is God asking you to come alongside with gentle grace and sure faith in a God who sees us in the crowd and is moved to us by unimaginable mercy?