Opening Prayer Thoughts.
Praise God for the truth of His Word. Praise God that, while men may seek to distort and abuse it, for those who seek the help of the Holy Spirit, it is clear and reasonable.
Confess the sin of lacking discernment in coming to the Word of God at times. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth.
Please ask the Holy Spirit's help as you come to his Word.
Please read Luke 13:10-17 - A direct rebuke!
V10. Jesus is teaching.
Jesus is teaching in a synagogue on a Sabbath, the location isn't given, but we do know that this is the last recorded time of Jesus doing so. In fact, it is the last time we read of Jesus being in a synagogue. Not that this is what makes this occasion memorable. What makes it significant is Jesus' healing of a woman, and the subsequent interaction between Jesus and a synagogue ruler.
V11. Jesus heals a demon-possessed woman.
Unlike many of the incidents of Jesus healing people, this one is not in response to a request; rather, it is Jesus who takes the initiative when he sees a woman making her way into the synagogue, and he calls her over. The verse in the original begins, ‘And lo, or behold, there was a woman…' which gives the sense that she just appeared, albeit in a low key way because she had a "disabling spirit for eighteen years", which meant that she was "bent over and could not fully straighten herself". Although not as religiously and socially restricting as the illness that the woman in Luke 8 had, this was still a long term, physically debilitating illness.
Jesus, seeing the demonic root of her disability, takes the initiative and stops teaching. He calls her over and declares that she is free from her disability. At the same time, Jesus lays his hands on her, and instantly she is physically restored. Her body straightens under divine power. Jesus could have healed her with no words and no laying on of hands, as he had done with others, but he chooses to do what he does on this occasion to communicate his power to the woman and those observing. The woman's response was also immediate; she began to glorify God. She believed that it was God the Father, who had healed her through Jesus. Her life was changed, and this was a day she would never forget for the rest of her life. Surely everyone who knew her would be thrilled at what had happened. No longer would they see her quietly, slowly, painfully making her way into the synagogue to join with other women in the worship of God. Delight must have filled the building as news spread of how Jesus had transformed her life. Not so!
V14. The synagogue ruler’s rebuke.
The synagogue ruler doesn't hold back from letting the people know what he thinks about what has just happened. And it's far from an expression of joy. He is indignant, and he lets rip. You can see, almost feel, the anger in his voice. Note though; he doesn't direct his venom at Jesus. Not because he didn't want to, but because he couldn't find anything wrong in what Jesus had done. Jesus hadn't promised or pronounced healing on the woman; he had merely stated that she was freed from her disability. A statement of observable fact. There may also have been an element of fear of Jesus on the part of the synagogue ruler. Whatever the reason or combination of reasons, the ruler turns his not inconsiderable attention on the people crowding into the building. Taking the fourth commandment as the pretext for his scathing rebuke, he announces, with the solemn authority of his office, that there are six days in the week when such healing can be sought, but not on the Sabbath. The verdict is clear – this should not have happened. Of course, there is an implied criticism of Jesus as well, that goes without saying. After all, he was the instigator of the healing and, therefore, the foremost Sabbath-breaker in the room.
V15. Two devastating questions.
Jesus brings this 'indirectness' to an abrupt end – "You hypocrites!" No matter how you look at those two words, it's hard to view them as either indirect or non-confrontational. Note, Jesus' indignance is not aimed solely at the synagogue ruler, but at everyone nodding in agreement with what the ruler has just said. Luke's use of the term “Lord” adds all the weight of Christ's divinity to his words.
The warrant for the use of the term 'hypocrisy' is now laid out in the form of two questions asked by Jesus. They are compelling questions in that they demand an answer for all present. "Does not each of you…." There is nothing nondescript, general about that. Jesus is addressing each one of them personally, and he does so in an understated way. What do I mean? Many of those present would have had more than one animal to water on the Sabbath. In dealing with the idea of just one animal, Jesus embraces everyone present but also leaves them to total up the frequency of their 'law-breaking' each Sabbath. The unspoken but 'elephant-like' question in the room – 'is this not work?’ The problem for all present is that the act of untying a rope, holding the rope, and then leading the animal to the water before returning to retie it, was classed as 'work' by the rabbinical teachings. Jesus knew it, and they knew it. The Law of God did not forbid the provision of merciful acts on the Sabbath day. It addressed the issue of work for remuneration, with the exception of that done to either provide mercy or fulfil the worship of God. Jesus wasn't saying that the taking of their animals to water was wrong; it was right, and no one would have argued otherwise. But it was wrong in terms of what was taught by the rabbis, and yet everyone did it, including the rabbis. That's what made the synagogue ruler's statement, and the accompanying head-nodding, hypocritical.
The second question Jesus asks calls for the same unavoidable answer. This time Jesus focuses on the woman whom he has just healed. The moral imperative in terms of the need in her life is obviously greater than that of watering an animal. She is a daughter of Abraham, one of the household of Israel, and not an animal. She is one whom "Satan bound for eighteen years", and not just for a day. She needed to be freed from a demon and not just to be given some water. The argument is overwhelming and irrefutable. The outburst of the synagogue ruler has come back on him and on the head 'nodders' with telling force.
V17. Silence and rejoicing.
There wasn't anywhere where the critics of Jesus could go with this. In two simple questions, Jesus devastated the statement of the synagogue ruler. Silence reigned from him and his minions. On the other hand, the people, seeing the power of Jesus rejoiced – literally, a wave of rejoicing came over the area as they witnessed this and other miracles Jesus did.
What do we learn from this? Yet again, the power of Jesus to heal, and the simplicity and purity of his reasoning.
Psalm to Sing
Psalm 62A - Link to the words. Link to it being sung. Sing with joy in your heart to God.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word.
Romans 1:16 – "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."
Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism Question - Sorry I made a mistake yesterday. I cited Catechism number 94, but then gave you the question and answer to number 95.
Here is Q94 - What is Baptism?
Answer - Baptism is the sacrament of solemn admission into the church on earth, in which the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, signifies and seals our being grafted into Christ, and having a share in the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our pledge to be the Lord's.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Thank God for the power of the Lord Jesus to do what he wills. Pray for his work in your life; whatever the need that is currently besetting you, bring it to Him and seek His help.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC