“When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ Then He put His hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.” (Luke 13:12-13)
During Lent I have found the writing of John Pritchard in his devotional ‘The Journey’ very helpful. John reflects on the chronology of Luke’s Gospel through the eyes of the disciple John, ending each daily devotion with challenging questions to stimulate thought and application of God’s Word. Concerning this passage, John Pritchard asks, “I wonder what restricts our churches from being the places of freedom and hope that we’re meant to be?” For the synagogue leader, and others Jesus calls the “hypocrites” in verse 15, it was religiosity – observing the Sabbath so devoutly that healing was restricted to only six days for work (verse 14). Jesus (quite rightly) illuminated the hypocrisy, with this woman, crippled for 18 years whilst ox and donkey were cared for on the Sabbath. The freedom of God, as Jesus exampled, is accessible to all those who want and need it, any time. We must avoid this religiosity that hinders and see those whom Jesus wants to set free.