“There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath!” Most thought, what an odd thing to say, while looking at the seat that the familiar voice generally occupied in the front. It wasn’t so much that the expression didn’t match the overbearing manner of the individual’s behavior; or that the statement seemed out of line for the personality punctuating the moment. In fact, not a person in this house of worship was surprised by the principal’s public accusation. Everyone in the small town knew the synagogue ruler, and when he addressed the crowd, no one was astonished.
The scandalizing reflection was the context of the argument. A daughter of Abraham, liberated from eighteen years of aguish, was accused of choosing the wrong day for a healing. The shocking tone of the vicious accusation was for the wrong occasion of her salvation. In a strikingly unison chorus of praise, the large majority of the congregation shared this dear woman’s victory. Into this situation entered an angry individual who deemed it his responsibility to alter the miracles significance with an accusation of transgression against this joyful Sabbath day’s phenomenon. Sadly, the voice carried such weight that every joyful heart was suddenly stilled and silenced by one man’s outrage.
And then the transformation happened—howbeit, only in the foremost rows. The whispers and murmurings of agreement began to punctuate this most joyful occasion. A wave of arrogance swept through the synagogue of seismic proportions. At first it was most unnoticeable, but as the chorus of praises diminished the feigned, indignant swellings began. The woman in question, who had grown so tall in stature, began to bend emotionally in humiliation—as if she had brought shame upon that whole congregation of these mighty men! No one rebutted the arrogance, no one broke the silence, and no one redeemed the moment on behalf of the healer or the healed. It was guilty silence that should weigh heavily in eternity.
The Man with Healing in His wings was forced to action. “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” He was right—the self-prescribed holy men knew it. Every responsible attendee knew in a moment the care of property that had life. And yet, they were all so quick to negate this poor woman’s life to less than useful. The sad commentary on the hearts resolved into two conditions, the arrogant were humiliated and the bound once again recognized an opportunity for freedom. His opponents were mortified. However, the remaining delighted in the wonderful things of the carpenter.
And in this way, I could have been an eyewitness to the miracle of the man from Nazareth.
J. Robert Hanson