Now he 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.
He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
It’s almost impossible to do no work on the Sabbath. Even if you are somehow free from all chores and duties, still you eat. And even if you didn’t prepare the food, someone had to. This is what Jesus is pointing out in this passage. Everyone does some amount of work on the Sabbath (the Rabbi TEACHES for goodness sake), so it’s hypocritical to criticize Him for healing. Besides, what day could be more appropriate for this woman to be set free than the Sabbath?
Instead of trying to prove how pious we are by boasting about how well we follow God’s rules, we should be striving for the faith of the mustard seed or yeast. It starts with thee little things we do, not some grandiose statement. It makes sense in my head, but it’s hard to explain it…
The bleeding woman. Her faith led her to the small, seemingly insignificant act of touching Jesus’s cloak. But through that small action a BIG miracle was performed, the result of a deep-rooted, wide-reaching faith. Just like our God is a God who works through little people, He is also a God who works through small acts. Because nobody starts in their faith like the apostles in Acts. We start as the lost, confused disciples of the Gospels.
I guess the two main messages I take away from this are: 1. Don’t compare your faith to others, and 2. Don’t expect to be perfect today. Like an giant sequoia, we can’t go from a seed to a hundred foot tree overnight. We can only grow a little bit at a time.