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Life of Jesus Christ in Its Historical Connexion and Historical Developement.
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§ 170. Cure of the Infirm Woman on the Sabbath; the Pharisees disconcerted. (Luke, xiii., 10.)—Of the Dropsical Man. (Luke, xiv.)

On another Sabbath, while Christ was teaching in the synagogue, his attention was arrested by a woman who had gone for eighteen years bowed together and unable to erect herself. He called her to him and laid his hands upon her; she was healed, and thanked God.

The ruler of the synagogue, not venturing to attack Christ directly, turned and reproached the people with, There are six days in which men ought to work; in them, therefore, come and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day. Christ saw that the reproach was intended for himself; and exposed to the man (who only illustrated the spirit of his whole party) the hypocrisy of his language, and the contrast between Pharisaic actions and a Pharisaic show of zeal for the law, by the question, Doth not each of you, on the Sabbath, loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And shall not this daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo! these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day!453453   The expression “whom Satan hath bound” may imply a demoniacal possession, a state, perhaps, of melancholy imbecility; and the words πνεῦμα ἀσθενείας appear to confirm this. But they may also be referred to the connexion between sin and evil in general, or in this particular case; and so a demoniacal possession, in the full sense, need not be presupposed. The terms may have been used in view of prevalent opinions, or because of the peculiar form in which Christ wished to express himself in this case.

Often the hidden aims of the Pharisees were veiled in the garb of friendliness; but the Saviour anticipated their attacks before they were uttered, and thus often prevented their utterance at all. An illustration of this is to be found in the account given by Luke (xiv.) of a meal taken at the house of a Pharisee, by whom he had been invited on the Sabbath. Whether by accident, or by the contrivance of the Pharisees, a dropsical man was there, seeking to be healed. Jesus first turned and asked them, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? When they made no reply, he touched the man and cured him. When he had left the house, the Saviour saw that the Pharisees were disposed to put an ill construction on what he had done; and appealed, as he had done before, to the testimony of their own conduct: Which of you shall have an ox or an ass fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath day?


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