This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on August 21, 2016.
This passage carries us into a synagogue where Jesus is teaching. By this point in Luke’s gospel narrative, Jesus’ reputation in the region was established. Jesus had performed several dramatic healings and exorcisms, fed the five thousand, and taught burgeoning crowds in cities and villages. Jesus stands and teaches, and those seeking healing have followed him.
The passage draws the audience into a moment when they are witnessing a dramatic act of compassion and healing. The gospel narratives most often portray those seeking healing as calling out and demanding Jesus’ attention. This, however, is a very different encounter. The nameless woman appears to have neither said nor done anything to draw Jesus’ attention. Jesus sees the woman, has compassion on her, and reaches out to her.
The woman had been bent and crippled, struggling in every move in every moment. Then, in a word her world is changed. Luke reports, “When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God” (v. 13). She was surrounded by her friends and community of faith. One would think everyone would rejoice with her, yet a voice of objection calls out.