In chapter 13, verses 6-17, we have an interesting interaction with Jesus, a woman who was healed on the Sabbath and a cranky synagogue ruler. It’s a story of perspectives.
Here you have a woman who for 18 years had been stricken with this infirmity. Charles Spurgeon put it this way, “For eighteen years she had not gazed upon the sun; for eighteen years no star of night had gladdened her eye; her face was drawn downward towards the dust, and all the light of her life was dim: she walked about as if she were searching for a grave, and I do not doubt she often felt that it would have been gladness to have found one.”
Her perspective was always cast down, tortured and weary of this sickness. Her perspective doesn’t revolve around the Sabbath, it revolves around her pain and torment. Jesus, recognizing her infirmity, calls her to Him, lays His hands on her and heals her instantly! In a moment this woman's perspective is changed from a life of torment to a life of freedom. Scripture says that in that moment, she glorified God.
Then we have the perspective of the synagogue ruler. This is where it gets interesting, and Jesus isn’t having it! The leader of the synagogue is offended by this healing, and he begins to protest. However, he does not dare directly criticize what Jesus has done. His remark is directed to the crowd. He complains that they shouldn’t come expecting to be healed on the Sabbath. His anger at Jesus is taken out on the crowd. Jesus’ rebuke deals with the real issue in question—the standards of healing on the Sabbath.
Jesus calls out this man’s hypocrisy! In verse 15 Jesus says:
You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it?
Jesus’ reply was simple. If you can help an animal on the Sabbath, why in the world can’t you also help a suffering person on the Sabbath?
But isn’t that sometimes our response? In a moment of conviction, in a moment of Jesus calling us on the carpet, our righteous indignation or “spiritual perspective” can cause us to spill out on to others when, in reality, Jesus is calling us to change our perspectives. Sometimes our perspective is fixed more on what we think is right rather than what’s righteous.
It reminds me of Peter in John 18:10-11
Just then Simon Peter, who was carrying a sword, pulled it from its sheath and struck the Chief Priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. Malchus was the servant’s name. Jesus ordered Peter, “Put back your sword. Do you think for a minute I’m not going to drink this cup the Father gave me?”
Peters’ perspective is a passionate one. One filled with right motives but an unrighteous response nonetheless. Jesus is telling him - Your vision is skewed. You don’t see clearly. I’m doing what the Father has asked of me and you are in the way.
Sometimes we can get in the way with what we perceive to be “right” when in reality Jesus is calling us to look beyond what we know, what we feel, to die to our flesh and see through the eyes of a Savior.
My prayer today is "Lord, teach me in moments of conviction or correction to see what you see. Help me not to react but respond with righteous motives and a position of repentance. Help me to change my perspective to see things the way You see them."