I’m not going to lie, the Gospel lesson for Sunday is a tough one to preach. It requires theological nuance to dance through the various cultural factors at play as Jesus heals the crippled woman on the Sabbath. Still, the story itself, apart from the potential for anti-Jewish rhetoric and supercessionism, is so worth telling because everyone knows what it feels like to have the weight of the world in their shoulders.
We all carry burdens. Some of them are life long struggles: addiction, mental illness, past abuse, etc. Some are self-inflicted: materialism, work-aholism, infidelity, etc. Some are short-lived: the assignments I mentioned last week, moving, what-have-you. Everyone knows what it feels like to be weighed down with stress or pain or struggle. Which is why this story is so powerful. Jesus goes out of his way to heal this woman. He breaks down barriers to help her stand up straight. He risks his whole ministry, even his very life, to make sure this woman is set free from her bondage.
And he’ll do it for you too.
The Kingdom of God is a place where everyone is able to stand up straight – freed from the shackles of sin that weigh us down. You are invited to that Kingdom, not when you die or when the world comes to an end, but right now. Jesus will risk it all to set you free so that you can stand up straight.