Study Guide

Gospel of Luke Chapter 13:10-17

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Chapter 13:10-17

Jesus Breaks Sabbath Again

  • Jesus is teaching in a synagogue on a sabbath, as he often does (recall 4:15-16, 31-33; 6:6).
  • This time, he meets a woman who's possessed by a spirit that has caused her to be hunched over for eighteen years.
  • As soon as he sees her, Jesus deems her "free" (13:12 NRSV) or "loosed" (KJV) from her condition. He's still doing what he said he would in 4:18-19.
  • He lays his hands on her and she straightens up, giving God requisite props.
  • But—surprise, surprise—the chief of the synagogue is annoyed that Jesus did this work on the sabbath.
  • The chief argues that six days are for labor, and he has Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15 to back him up. Why can't Jesus heal her tomorrow?
  • If this whole fiasco sounds familiar, it's because Luke loves to weave themes like this in and out of the story.
  • In response, Jesus calls the chief and anyone who agrees "hypocrites" (13:15). After all, they themselves do exactly what they're condemning.
  • Everyone takes care to untie their farm animals on the sabbath in order to give them food and water. The possessed woman is a fellow Jew, and Satan's held her tied up for eighteen years.
  • It's inconsistent, even inhuman, to argue that it's a breach of the sabbath to untie her from her demonic affliction, while it is not a breach to untie a silly cow or donkey. (Check out Jesus's similar logic in 6:9.)
  • This pretty much puts all of his opponents to shame, and the crowd is psyched. Go Jesus.

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