William Loader: http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~loader/LkPentecost13.htm
A Little Bit for Everyone
Oremus online text: http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=Luke+13:10-17&vnum=yes&version=nrsv
Textweek general resources: http://www.textweek.com/yearc/properc16.htm
Textweek resources for Luke’s Gospel this Sunday: http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/lk13b.htm
Some interesting articles on this passage:
Teresa Berger of Duke Divinity School commentary: http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=3117
William Loader’s thoughts:
Commentary by Chris Haslam
Great treasures website: http://greattreasures.org/gnt/main.do
O God, the source of all health: So fill my heart with faith in your love, that with calm expectancy I may make room for your power to possess me, and gracefully accept your healing; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, 461
It is an easy thing to read this passage and to wander off into the strong political imagery of the woman in relationship to those who have power over her. I think we cannot help but wonder about the relationship between the woman and the ruler of the synagogue. Indeed, as I read many commentaries I was struck by the emotional and convicting imagery of the bent over woman, possessed by powers, struggling for 18 years and the knowledge that one of the powers that kept her down must have been the hard fist of the religious system of the day. It would not have favored her and in fact in her healing begins to work against Jesus who frees her from the oppression. As I reread the passage, I began to ask myself am I missing something?
The first piece of information that seems central to this passage is that our reading does not include the whole pericope. We begin this section of Jesus’ teachings with warnings to repent. We see that Jesus is answering the age old question about God and the manner in which God works in the world. The question: Did God make the tower fall on the eighteen people at Siloam? The answer is no, but it is also that everyone should be ready for the coming of the kingdom. We know that Jesus believe the reign of God was imminent; if not already present as he himself was present. So, Jesus is being clear: be ready. The time to follow is now!
Jesus then gives the parable of the man who saves the fig tree but for a little longer seeking to care for it and to nurture it into bearing fruit. This is an important image because it helps us to understand perhaps how Jesus sees his own ministry. He is the one, spare them but a little longer, let us fertilize and tend to our creation.
So, we come to our text for this Sunday. Here we are told that there is a woman present who has weak. She is possessed according to the Greek. She has been this way for 18 years; notice the connection between her years of possession and the number of people in Siloam that died. Jesus sees her and he frees her. This is done as are all the works of Christ to glorify God.
We are told that the ruler of the synagogue was irritated. Instead of addressing Jesus directly he triangulates the crowd to his cause and raises their ire against the prophet.
Jesus reacts promptly. He tells them that everyone frees even their work animals on the Sabbath and that humans, especially this woman who has been as tied up by the devil, surely deserves her freedom – Sabbath or not.
Notice though too that he calls her a “daughter of Abraham.” She is neighbor. Like Zacchaeus who is called “son of Abraham” she is part of the family; part of the deuteronomistic family of God. Paul calls those in Antioch “sons of the family of Abraham (Acts 13:26). Our prayer book describes the church as the family of God. We are the all the inheritors of this designation and as such are freed from bondage.
Jesus is connecting clearly the freedom of Israel with the freedom of this woman from her possession. Jesus is offering us a very key understanding of the work of the reign of God and that is to free those who are imprisoned, to proclaim release of the captives. To bring the family of Abraham out of the bondage this keeps it from bearing fruit into a new era of mission. Sabbath here is intimately connected with the work, and by the work, of freedom making. The Sabbath is a day of rest; it is a day of proclamatory rest from the bondage of evil, sin, and death.
The crowd rejoices and the opponents are put to shame says the scripture.
This miracle of freedom is one of the signs that play on the great mosaic and messianic themes running through Luke’s Gospel. Jesus is not only the great prophet offering a vision of the reign of God; Jesus is the great deliverer who will bring us out of the land of suffering into a new life of freedom. Here in this story Luke is playing on the powerful images, showing his reader who Jesus is and what our response is to be. We are to see the great signs. Unlike last weeks scripture we are to know the signs of the seasons and the signs of the son of man. We are to see and respond. Luke Timothy Johnson reminds us (Luke, 215) that it is possible that “the woman’s standing to glorify God will remind us of the saying about the return of the Son of Man in 21:28: ‘when these things begin to happen, stand up straight, lift up your heads, for the time of your liberation has come.’”
I can see that in different contexts both messages (the justice and the missionary) will be important. So we might reflect and ask these questions of ourselves: On this Sunday will our proclamation be that the woman is freed and so we are free? Or, will we say “see this is the Christ, come and follow, bear fruit, and make way in the wilderness so that others may be free”?
The Lambeth Bible Study Method
This Bible study method was introduced by the African Delegation to the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church. It is known by both names: "Lambeth" and "African." This method is derived from the practice of Lectio Divina. The entire process should take about 30 minutes.
Question #5: "Briefly identify where this passage touches their life today," can change based upon the lesson. Find lesson oriented questions at this website: http://www.dcdiocese.org/word-working-second-question
Opening Prayer: O Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning. Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that we may embrace and hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
1. One person reads passage. This person then invites a member of the group to begin the process.
2. Each person briefly identifies the word or phrase that catches their attention then invites another person to share.
3. Each shares the word or phrase until all have shared or passed using the same invitation method.
4. The passage is read a second time, preferably from a different translation. The reader then invites a person in the group to begin the process.
5. Each person briefly identifies where this passage touches their life today, and then invites someone who has not shared yet.
6. The passage is read a third time, also from another translation, and the reader invites a person to start the process.
7. Each person responds to the questions, "What does God want me to do, to be or to change?"
8. The group stands up in a circle and holds hands. One person initiates the prayer “I thank God today for …” and “I ask God today for…” The prayer goes around the circle by squeezing the hand to your right.
9. When the circle is fulfilled, the person who initiated the prayer starts the Lord’s Prayer, “Our father…”