Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Loosed From This Bond on the Sabbath Day": Understanding the Slavery Metaphor in Luke 13 as it Relates to Shabbat


"10 Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had had a spirit of affliction for eighteen years. She was hunched over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your sickness.” 13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. 14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him," (Luke 13:10-17)

Why were Yeshua's adversaries put to shame?

To understand that, one needs to consider the context of Shabbat--specifically the metaphor of "slavery" in the Exodus story.

On one level, the Israelites were merely slaves to the Egyptians; but, on a deeper level, they were slaves to Satan in the form of all the idols of the Egyptians:

"Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.  But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt.  Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness.  And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them.  Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them," (Ezekiel 20:7-12)
Shabbat represents mankind's conversion--turning from being servants of Satanic idols to being servants of Adonai.

This symbolism is the same for both Jew and Gentile:

“And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be His servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant," (Isaiah 56:6)
And also:

"19 'Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, 20 but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. 21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues,'" (Acts 15:19-21)
As Gentiles, it's often confusing how we should interpret certain mitzvot given to ethnic descendants of Israel:
"You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day"
Here's my take:  both Jew and Gentile were set free from idolatrous bondage and should observe Shabbat accordingly.  Now, I realize there are many in Messianic circles that say Gentiles are merely "invited" to Shabbat.  But the Truth is this:  you can either take hold of Shabbat and serve G-d or stay behind in Egypt and serve Satan.


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