“The Lord answered him, ‘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?’” (Luke 13:15–16, NIV84)
Something is wrong with someone’s theology when Jesus Himself is accused of breaking the law by healing a woman on the Sabbath day. The Pharisees watched Jesus heal a woman on the Sabbath, a woman who had suffered 18 years with a debilitating ailment that caused her to be completely hunched over. She was a woman yearning to be freed from her misery and pain. Rather than jumping up and down praising God, the Pharisees accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath law and hence doing something unlawful and ungodly.
You want to provoke Jesus’ ire? Just attack divine acts of mercy. Call an act of God an act of the devil. Say that a divine act of mercy is unlawful or ungodly. Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites. He accused them of missing the point and hence breaking their own law. He challenged them about two things. First, their definition of work was not the same as what God had defined and was not something they could even live up to. He said to them: “Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your donkey and lead it to water?” He asked why, if they could do that on the Sabbath so their animals could survive, He couldn’t heal a person on the Sabbath so she could survive. Second, and most important, the Sabbath is supposed to be a day for setting people free from what binds them! The whole reason we worship on the Sabbath is so we can put ourselves in the presence of Almighty God so He can work miracles in our lives.
May we remember at all times what the Sabbath day is for!