07/18/S – Free and Able

Deuteronomy 34:1-Joshua 1:18; Luke 13:10-21; Psalms 79:1-8; Proverbs 19:17

NT: “As he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath, a woman was there who had been disabled by a spirit for over eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called out to her, “Woman, you are free of your disability.” Then he laid his hands on her, and instantly she was restored and began to glorify God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, responded by telling the crowd, “There are six days when work should be done; therefore come on those days and be healed and not on the Sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “Hypocrites! Doesn’t each one of you untie his ox or donkey from the feeding trough on the Sabbath and lead it to water? Satan has bound this woman, a daughter of Abraham, for eighteen years — shouldn’t she be untied from this bondage on the Sabbath day?” When he had said these things, all his adversaries were humiliated, but the whole crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things he was doing.” (‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:10-17‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

A woman who had been oppressed, pushed over, and held down by a disabling spirit happened to be in a synagogue where Jesus was teaching. Right in the middle of His teaching, the woman caught His eye – so He called her out and brought her forward in front of everyone. Right there on the spot, He laid His hands on her and authoritatively freed her from her disability. Immediately, her body loosened up and she was able to stand upright for the first time in 18 years. Overwhelmed and overjoyed, she began to glorify God for healing her and setting her free. Instead of rejoicing with her, the leader of the synagogue became indignant. Tradition didn’t allow for healing on the Sabbath. He couldn’t rejoice and celebrate because what Jesus did went against his own categorical stance. Instead of celebrating the woman’s freedom, he shamed the crowd that was rejoicing with her. Not willing to allow partisanship to have the last word and minimize the miracle that had just occurred, Jesus pointed out the error and hypocrisy in the synagogue leader’s offense. The synagogue leader was willing to treat his animal with more care and compassion than this highly valued daughter of Abraham. If he was willing to loose his donkey to eat and drink on the Sabbath, how much more should he be willing to see this woman, created in the image of God, released to worship and serve the Lord on the Sabbath. We can’t allow ourselves to be more loyal to partisan positions than we are to the positions of the Kingdom. We can’t allow political correctness (regardless of what side of the aisle) to prevent us from doing what is right, what is just, what is merciful. We can’t allow a political stance on immigration prevent us from caring for the resident aliens in our midst – as the word of God calls us to do. We can’t allow our political stance for traditional families to prevent us from caring for single moms and their kids (the widows and orphans of our day). Followers of Jesus should, first and foremost, be people of the Kingdom and should be committed to the word, will, and ways of the King and the Kingdom before any party’s platforms. If we will firstly give ourselves to the Kingdom, then the Lord will free us from partisan entanglements that lead to hypocrisy, and will grace us with the ability to establish His Kingdom and accomplish His kingdom agenda.

Proverbs: “Kindness to the poor is a loan to the Lord, and he will give a reward to the lender.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭19:17‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Kindness (being compassionate, showing mercy, being gracious, acting favorably) is something that the Lord rewards. Even Jesus said that when you serve the poor, you serve Him (Matthew 25:35-40). This is a kingdom promise and a kingdom decree. We are to be kind to the poor, not treat them as less-than or with disdain. When we do so, the kindness that we show will be shown to us.

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