Luke: Jesus Heals on the Sabbath

Read: Luke 13:10-17

While my focus in this post will center on the leaders, I don’t want to lose the excitement surrounding this amazing event. Jesus, full of compassion, reaches out to a woman who has lived with a crippling infirmity for 18 years. In an instant, her body was restored, she could stand tall again. Lord, don’t let me miss the miracle in the debate. Jesus healed this woman through His miraculous touch.

Crippled By A Spirit

Luke was a physician by vocation, so the insertion of this phrase, “crippled by a spirit,” is significant. We fight battles in the spiritual world we know little about. I’m sure you’ll agree with me in this assertion: that which is unseen is far more dangerous than that which we can see. But that is difficult to explain and hard to express to those who are far from God, let alone Christ followers.

The NIV Application Commentary pointed to C.S. Lewis’, Screwtape Letters, as a troubling reminder of the battlefront in spiritual places. In the preface of this incredible book, Lewis draws us into the conversation:

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. Readers are advised to remember that the devil is a liar.C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

The last statement is an important reminder, “the devil is a liar.”


Jesus is stern with the Jewish leadership. They are lost in their pious attitude and react with some crazy notion that miracles are only performed Monday through Saturday, as if they have ever healed anyone!!

The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Luke 13:15

Seriously, it’s ok to tend to an animal, but not touch someone? Even more, why not release someone from bondage on the Sabbath as an even greater example for the people.

Here’s a thought: By healing her, she can now rest. This will be her first real Sabbath in 18 years!


When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing. Luke 13:17

Is it possible that we are so steeped in our religiousness that we might make the same mistake as our Jewish forefathers? Are we out of touch with the people to the point that we can’t celebrate with them? Have we elevated ourselves as shepherds and teachers so far above the crowd that we no longer see people?

It seems we’re back to the concept of choices. In this case, the people fully embrace the beauty of the moment while the leaders are lost and searching the Shabbat for an escape clause.



Reference from the NIV Application Commentary:

Jewish tradition was particular about Sabbath labor. In the Mishnah, the book of Jewish tradition from the late second century, we are given a list of thirty-nine activities prohibited for the Sabbath (Shabbat 7: 2). Other texts outline the limits for how one handles cattle on the Sabbath (Shabbat 15: 1– 2; 5: 1– 4; ʿErubin 2: 14). The rules are specific, though it is not clear precisely which rule Jesus has violated. All he has done is to address the woman and touch her.

Wilkins, Michael J.; Garland , David E.; Bock, Darrell L.; Burge, Gary M.; Fernando, Ajith. NIVAC Bundle 6: Gospels, Acts (The NIV Application Commentary) (Kindle Locations 51527-51531). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

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This link includes a list of posts about Serving the Least, the Lost, and the Lonely.

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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.

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