Healing On a Sabbath - The Purpose of Rituals

Rituals that supposedly help us may at times cause us to overlook the real needs of the people. We have to be reminded often with a key quote from Jesus, "Sabbath is for man and not man for the Sabbath." (Mark 2:27). Confucius also reminds us exactly the same teaching - rules are for people.
Bible Reference: Luke 13:10-17 Healing of a Woman bound

  • 10 Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.
    Jesus taught in the synagogues. He was accepted as a Rabbi. 
  • 11 And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up.
    Despite her sickness and the difficulty, she came to worship God. Most people would just stay at home. Her long period of suffering, 18 years, is specifically mentioned. The people there must have been aware of her long-suffering too.
  • 12 But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.”
    She did not ask for her healing. Jesus took the initiative. Jesus has compassion for her. Jesus has compassion for you too. What is your difficulty? Know that Jesus cares for you. 
  • 13 And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
    Jesus pronounced her healing first, for her and for all others to know and then did the laying of hands. Hence, there is no question as to who did the healing. She was healed immediately and she praised God to confirm her healing. Her healing was obvious to all too. A bent back straightened. This drew the attention of all even more.
  • 14 But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”
    The ruler of the synagogue felt he must make a stand and condemn Jesus for breaking the Sabbath Law of rest.
    Rituals are for People not People for Rituals?

    Why not another day? Why not now? If you encounter someone you are able to help, then you must help immediately rather than delay it.
  • 15 The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it?

    A public rebuke must be answered publicly too.
    Jesus pointed out the key error - hypocrites.
    They themselves are breaking the Sabbath Law of rest to work to feed their healthy flocks in the Sabbath but now they are condemning a healing of a sick lady of their own people. Is she less valuable than ox or donkey?
  • 16 So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”
    Watch the argument. She is one of you and yet you are not kind to your own!
  • 17 And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.
    The crowd were not fooled, showing the evil of the leaders.
    Will the church people be discerning enough not to be fooled by false and manipulative preaching?
  • A similar incidence is recorded in Luke 14:1-6
Confucius' Teaching 


Confucius is known among the Chinese as the one promoting the Codes of Conduct or Rituals 礼 the most. Even him, correctly pointed out that rituals without love is useless. External harmony, like music, without the true inner love, also has no meaning.

Take Away:

Have we committed the same sin, of putting rules and regulations, above the true needs of the people? Yes, every organization must have rules and policies to work well. But we need to do them with love and consideration for the people. Because the very rules and policies are for the benefits of the staff working in the organization.

Lim Liat (c) 22 Dec 2017

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