Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the Sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the Sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the Sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.
In this story we see a woman who has been cut off from her community, a community cut off from one of its members, and a “leader” who chooses public blaming of a victim rather than compassion. Jesus sees the woman and, without asking, knows her. He then restores not only her body, but also restores her to community. And the people, who were initially appalled, rejoice that their community is once again made whole by the healing of one. It brings to mind Paul’s writing about the body—if one member suffers, all suffer along with it. Jesus chooses to give life to both the woman and the community, rather than let them suffer even one more day.