Thursday, August 19, 2010

God's unauthorized power

The story in Luke 13:10-17 makes me want to stand up and cheer. The kingdom of God was coming at unexpected hour. It happened as Jesus taught in a synagogue on the Sabbath. In the crowd he saw a woman hunched over. We might speculate as to the cause maybe arthritis, maybe scoliosis, maybe an injury. Jesus said it was something more sinister naming the power that held her bound as daemonic.
Jesus called to her saying woman you are set free. He went over and placing his hand on her Jesus healed her. She started praising God. She was free: Alleluia.
The leader of the synagogue protested rather than offer any kind of praise. He insisted that the Sabbath wasn't the right day for healing There are other days in the week to come and be healed. But not this day he exclaimed.
Jesus called him out. “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” Luke 13:15-16 NRSV.
The man in the synagogue knew the law very well; but he didn't approve of Jesus' merciful actions on behalf of the suffering. He thought that because he knew the law he knew what God could and couldn't do. God's kingodom comes in many ways both expected and unexpected, both seen and unseen. Even the law was no limit on Jesus' mercy.
In the Lord's prayer we say again and again, "Thy kingdom come." Martin Luther wrote in his small catechism,

"To be sure, the kingdom of God comes of itself, without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may also come to us." Theodore G. Tappert, The Book of Concord : The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, ( Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 2000, c1959), The Small Catechism: III, 7.
May thy kingdom come. AMEN.


Ivy said...

Amen, Pr. Unlikely. You helped me to reframe my message for Sun.

Tmiester said...

If I were at the Synagogue what would I have done? On one hand I would have witnessed a miracle, I think would have been an incredible sight, (I don't know if they had illusionists in that day) Praise be to God. On the other hand, God put that law in place to respect the holy day of the week and to rest and worship,not Work. Technically Jesus was working (healing), The Failure of the leader of the synagogue was that he didn't recognize the Son of Man, Not that he he didn't know the Law! :-), Thanks for the Post PJ!