Notes for Luke 13:10-17

Disabling spirit

Among the discussion in various commentaries is whether the "disabling spirit" of the woman was a spiritual (demonic) cause of a natural illness/disease. the word 'disabling' άσθεινί́́́́̓́̀ς is used of illness or sickness. In the LXX (Greek Old Testament) it is used as 'stumbling block' in Jeremiah 6:21
 Therefore thus says the Lord:‘Behold, I will lay before this people    stumbling blocks against which they shall stumble;fathers and sons together,    neighbor and friend shall perish.’”
Arguing in favor of a natural occurring illness includes Dr. James Edwards who makes the case for a generic illness based on how various skin rashes and problems would have been lumped into the category of Hansen's Disease (Leprosy). However, in Luke 6:18, this physician clearly distinguishes between who were healed of diseases and those troubled with unclean spirits (6:18; 7:21; Acts 5:16; 8:6-8; 19:12). Likewise, he does not mention spirit in 4:38, 40; and specifically mentions it in Luke 8 and 9 and in Acts 16. One can also point to verse 16 in which Jesus identifies the one bound this woman as Satan.

It seems to this preacher that Luke was observant enough to tell the difference between an illness or sickness and something that is fueled by spiritual/demonic forces.

What ought we do?

What is 'necessary' and what one 'ought' do is a key component for this synagogue ruler and Jesus. In Greek, the verb is a very simple δεί (dei).  The synagogue leader says, "“There are six days in which work ought to be done." (v.14). Jesus immediately counters with "ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?" (v.16)

In response to her freedom, this woman begins praising God and continues to do so as this ruler and Jesus exchange words. The phrase used by Mark occurs eight times but only once in Matthew and Mark (Edwards). Praise is a hallmark of his gospel and of our response to God’s work

Jesus takes the initiative with this forlorn woman, however, and emphatically so: he saw her, summoned her, and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity” (v. 12). His pronouncement…means “you have been released.” The woman’s release is thus spoken of as an already accomplished condition effected by the redemptive and liberating word of Jesus. The passive…attributes the action to God. This pronouncement is therefore christologically significant, for in making it, Jesus presumes to stand in the place of God. (Edwards) 


By the Second Temple period, the Sabbath had acquired a sacred and central status in Judaism.4 The Sabbath was regarded as a day in which one ceased from all manner of work. In carving out the parameters of this divinely mandated rest, Jews in the Second Temple period sought to draw upon the same resources they always had when faced with the need to update and expand ancient Israelite law. Thus, Jews turned to their sacred scriptures and the manifold presentations of the Sabbath and its ritual obligations.
Jansen, Alex P. "Tracing The Threads Of Jewish Law: The Sabbath Carrying Prohibition From Jeremiah To The Rabbis". Annali di storia dell'esegesi 28.1 (2011): 253-78. Web. 18 Aug. 2016.
"The synagogue ruler attributed final authority regarding Sabbath observance to Torah; here Jesus supersedes Torah (Edwards)." 

Jesus explained that his goal in coming to earth was to plundering Satan's stronghold Isa 49:24; 1 John 3:8)." 

Resources Consulted:

Bailey, Gaither. "Not On The Sabbath!". n.p., 2010. Web. 17 Aug. 2016.
Edwards, James R. The Gospel According To Luke. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans's Publishing Company, 2015. Print.
Hanko, Herman, Homer Hoeksema, and Gise J. Van Baren. "The Five Points Of Calvinism: Total Depravity". Prca.orgn.p., 1976. Web. 19 Aug. 2016.
Jansen, Alex P. "Tracing The Threads Of Jewish Law: The Sabbath Carrying Prohibition From Jeremiah To The Rabbis". Annali di storia dell'esegesi 28.1 (2011): 253-78. Web. 18 Aug. 2016.
Larson, Bruce and Lloyd John Ogilvie. Luke. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983. Print.
Lenski, R. C. H. The Interpretation Of St. Luke's Gospel. Minneapolis, Minn.: Augsburg, 1961. Print.
Lewis, C. S. The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian. 1995. Print.
Louw, J. P and Eugene A Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of The New Testament. Print.
Lust, J et al. A Greek-English Lexicon Of The Septuagint. 2nd ed. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2003. Print.
McMahon, C Matthew. Covenant Theology Made Easy. 2nd ed. Puritan Publications, 2011. Print.
Newman, Barclay Moon. A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of The New Testament. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2010. Print.
Noland, John. Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 35B: Luke 9:21 - 18:34. Dallas: Word Incorporated, 1995. Print.
Piper, John. "Total Depravity By John Piper". Monergism.comn.p., 1998. Web. 19 Aug. 2016.
Rainer, Tom. "Twelve Weird Items In Church Bylaws -". ThomRainer.comn.p., 2016. Web. 17 Aug. 2016.
Shabbat,. "The Shabbat Laws". Web. 18 Aug. 2016.
Sanders, Fred. "Notes From Schmemann's Journals - The Scriptorium Daily". The Scriptorium Daily. n.p., 2009. Web. 17 Aug. 2016.
Swanson, James A. Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997. Print.


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