Here was a woman who had a disability, she couldn’t stand up straight, but it didn’t stop her from coming to the synagogue to worship. Even after 18 years of being bound up by Satan her love for God and His Word trumped the physical and emotional pain. Yet it seems so easy for us to find one sorry excuse to stay home from church, rather than find one of the many reasons to go. This woman wouldn’t be held back, but we say we just don’t feel like it. If our prayers go unanswered for a week, we punish God by missing the next.
Jesus could have just gone home after teaching, but He calls out to her, a woman, which would be a scandal in itself. He is breaking the rules of etiquette.
After He heals her, the religious leaders were indignant. He is breaking the rules of ministry. But Jesus exposes their hypocrisy. In their supposed zeal, they show their hearts. They do what needs to be done on the Sabbath day; they are not so strict as to restrict common duties. They don’t call that sinful work. Accordingly, they should care more about a hurting person than a thirsty animal. Ironically, the whole idea of the Sabbath was rest, release, and so the Lord’s words, “Woman, you are freed from your disability” are perfectly in line with God’s will.
Also, this was not just about being hypocritical in their application of Sabbath Law; it was an indication of their disregard for women. They weren’t just rejecting Jesus and His work, they were rejecting her. But men and women are both heirs of God promises (Galatians 3:27-29). We are to treat each other with dignity and respect, as Jesus demonstrates here.
It is the influence of Satan that tries to keep people from “straightening up”, but it is the nature of Jesus to bend our wills and break the rules when it comes to redemption over religion.