We don’t have to invent or infer Jesus’ actions. There’s no need to guess or ask, “What would Jesus do?” We know. Read the gospels. The New Testament offers specific examples of Jesus’ behavior, beliefs, and deeds. For example, there is little mystery as to Jesus’ attitudes toward the poor, elderly, or the sick. If one wants to follow Jesus, read and contextualize his words for our day and time.
In this week’s gospel passage we see several different areas that are regularly emphasized in Jesus’ life and ministry.
- Jesus teaches in the synagogue. Contextually, this means he’s in the church or a worship experience. Jesus goes to synagogue, participates, leads, and is active in worship. Presence is important. Sharing in Psalms, scripture, and community matter. Jesus is modeling best practice. He doesn’t find God on the Sea of Galilee. He goes to a worship space. We can learn something from Jesus. He’s our role model.
- The woman he heals is also in the common worship space. We’re not told (as we are in other instances) that she’s there to be healed. She’s simply present (despite her pain and infirmity) in the worshiping community. It’s important to draw near to God. The healing is an outgrowth of the worship.
- All time is holy. Jesus is attacked for healing the woman on the sabbath. Humanity’s concept of linear time is opposed to the divine idea of circular time (kairos vs. chronos time). We forget that God works in the moment. All time is Gods. Jesus reminds the synagogue staff: human need (i.e. people in pain) outweighs any rules we think we are trying to enforce on God’s behalf.
Richard Lowell Bryant