“The healing of the infirm woman, taken from the thirteenth chapter of Luke, verses 10-17, an explanation, analysis and interpretation”
My dear Christians and you of all faiths, views and opinions, I bid you and ask you to join with me in another voyage of intellectual discovery. I welcome you in this quest and task of obtaining intellectual honesty and honesty discernment. Join with me in this voyage of discovery to get at and find what is valid and authentic in this present world of confusion and come with me in tearing apart the curtain of darkness and lies that hides from us what is truth and facts.
Today, as I have many times before, I will attempt to interpret, explain and in some sense come to understand the words and thoughts of Jesus found in the gospel of Luke, chapter 13, verses 10-17 as follows:
Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
This story of the healing of the infirm woman by Jesus is a most profound story and the words of Jesus merit our utmost attention in every way. Two strands of thought are present here. First, we are told of Jesus healing an infirm woman who for eighteen years was bent over and could not straighten herself out. Jesus then lays his hands on her and immediately she was made straight. We have a miracle that could only happen with the agency of God. We have here a clear exhibition of Jesus’s divinity and connection to God. That Jesus claims to be God as evidenced by this miracle is clear and obvious.
The ruler of the synagogue becomes jealous and speaks against healing on the sabbath and faults Jesus for this technical religious violation. Jesus is more concerned with love, mercy and healing and not some supposed religious violation of the sabbath. One might say that Jesus is inaugurating a new religion based on love and mercy and not adhering to technical religious rules.
Jesus counters the matter of the sabbath violation by saying that on the sabbath these same religious leaders will untie their ox or ass and lead it to water. He points out the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders who also violate the rule concerning work on the sabbath and notes that this woman should be healed on the sabbath and loosed from this bond. We are told his adversaries were put to shame and the people rejoiced at the glorious things done by him. We have here the issue of religious hypocrisy which Jesus notes and objects to, saying this woman has every right to be healed on the sabbath as much as the Jewish leaders have the right to lead their beasts to water. The woman’s need is so much greater because she has suffered so much. Jesus is relieving her from her suffering. Finally, we see how the people rejoice at the miracle performed by Jesus.
We have here the issue of healing on the sabbath where Jesus breaks the technical religious rule for the sake of mercy and love, the noted hypocrisy of the Jewish leadership on this issue, and that the people rejoice in the work of Jesus and follow him all the more. Jesus is starting a new universal religion based on mercy and love without technical rules to be obeyed even though they do little or no good to anyone. The woman here, a daughter of Abraham, is being treated as an outcast. The rulers of Israel are blind to such need due to their narrow legalism which prevents them from seeing the significance of the words and works of Jesus.
I do hope in this essay I have shed some degree of light and understanding of the words and works of Jesus in this gospel passage, however inadequate this attempt to grasp the mind and thoughts and words of the son of God. I urge you all to read more than once what I have written here. I urge you to return to the biblical text and read and reread it until Jesus comes with his light into your hearts, minds and souls.