Breakin' the law

Here's this week's "Opening the Bible" blog entry for i.ucc

There I go again – now I’ve got the Judas Priest song from 1980 pounding in my head. It’s a song about the joy of rebellion and has no connection to this week’s reading from Luke 13:10-17. Nevertheless, it’s in my head and probably yours right now. I’ll do my best to concentrate on the reading instead of the song. I hope you’ll do the same.

In this week’s Bible reading from Luke 13:10-17, Jesus noticed a woman who was unable to stand up straight for 18 years. While knowing the rules of conduct for what was allowed and not allowed on the Sabbath, Jesus healed the woman. What he did was against the detailed rule structure – the laws relating to the Sabbath.

Jesus broke the law!

Shouldn’t that be the end of it – no more debate about anything else related – Jesus broke the law and that was wrong, right?


It’s more complicated than that, isn’t it?

Jesus used the opportunity to make the Synagogue leaders think. He caught their attention by playing on the word we understand as “untie.”

The law says that you can untie or tie on the Sabbath – but doesn’t the Erubin (the code that showed the Sabbath laws and the exceptions to them – the word Erubin can mean something like “binding” or “tying”) show that it’s allowable to untie an animal on the Sabbath so it can get a drink? Surely it is allowable to unbind this woman who has been bound for 18 years too!

I think that Jesus was trying to teach that strict adherence to the law while ignoring the two most important rules makes the law something that harms rather than helps.

Is it possible that in today’s world we have some issues that bring out similar responses? Are issues like immigration and homosexuality parallel issues to the one Jesus was addressing? Would drawing a connection be taking the Bible reading out of context? Would it be taking it in the direction that was intended?

So many questions . . . so few brain cells to ponder them.

Maybe it’s from listening to too much Judas Priest.

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