Sabbath Surprise

Her eyes looked down at the dirt. She wouldn’t raise them. She couldn’t.

She recognized neighbors and strangers by their feet. Whether faces smiled or frowned at her, she did not see. It had been this way—her body bent double—for eighteen years. But today, although she didn’t know it yet, there would be a change.

Today was the Sabbath; and she was going where she always went on the Sabbath, walking the same path to the same synagogue. The rabbi’s voice she heard, though, was not the same one. He, pausing from his teaching, singled her out.

“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 NIV).

In spite of her personal shame and pain, this woman had clung to her habit of meeting with others for the Sabbath service. Both she and Jesus obeyed God’s instruction that “the seventh day is a day of . . .  sacred assembly” (Leviticus 23:3 NIV). They were where God wanted them to be on the Sabbath. It is the day God designated for humanity to meet together in reverence and respect for Him.

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