In the discussion that follows the healing of a crippled woman in the synagogue, Jesus ends by revealing the woman’s unique identity: she is a daughter of Abraham (v. 16). It is fitting that her true identity should be revealed on the Sabbath. With Jesus we are not on the level of “what we ought to do and not do”, as the leader of the synagogue argued (v. 14), but on the level of “who we ought to be or not be,” of who we truly are.
The leader of the synagogue referred to God’s commandment about the Sabbath in Exodus 20: 9-11. Jesus, however, answers along the lines of the same commandment in Deuteronomy 5: 13-15, which explains: “…so that you may rest, and remember that you were once a slave in Egypt, and the the Lord your God brought you out from there.” That is why the woman had to be “released” from her slavery precisely on the Sabbath. Thus she becomes a living sign, which recalls God’s deliverance today.
What does resting in God mean? First of all, it means to remember. It means seeing our life in another light than what we produce, seeing instead what God achieves, especially through our weakness. For the people of God, it meant to remember their time of slavery. For us it can mean the the memory of our inner wounds will make us more human, that it will open us to see God’s goodness towards us and others and will help us (re)discover our true identity.
- What space can I find in my daily life to pause, to remember, to rest in God?
- From what do I need to be “released”? Among all the activities I have, which one should I let go of?