Now [Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing. - Luke 13:10-17
As I write this, I am preparing for a vacation. My family was gracious enough to give Nancy (my wife) and I a cruise to Alaska with some on ship credits for excursions. We received it for our 60th birthdays. In addition, Nancy and I have been in forty-nine states. Alaska will be our fiftieth state. We are very humbled by these gifts from our daughters and their families. We look forward to the rest and relaxation.
I believe all of us need vacations, a time of rest. Throughout the Bible, the people of God practiced a day of rest. It was called “the Sabbath”. The day was Saturday. It was a day to provide rest and to reflect on God and his blessings.
Over the centuries, the day became not a day of rest but became another burden on the people of God. The people were burdened with sets of regulations they could and could not do on the Sabbath. It had lost its original meaning.
Several times, Jesus would heal on the Sabbath. His healing on the Sabbath would bring controversy. It seems healing was considered a work not to perform on the Sabbath.
When Jesus was criticized by the religious leaders, Jesus would point out that people were not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for people. Another way to think of this is what a perfect day to heal someone. The word Sabbath meant Saturday. However, the word Sabbath also meant rest! What a great day to give this woman rest from her ailment.
Unfortunately, many of us in the Church forget that.
The Church is not here to lay more and more burdens on the people of God. The Church is meant to lift burdens off people.
The Church is meant to proclaim a Sabbath Rest to all the people of God.
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, California