Miracles of Jesus: Healing a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath

Bible Says Jesus Christ Angers Pharisees by Doing Miraculous Work on the Sabbath

Jesus miracle healing crippled woman
The painting "Christ Healing an Infirm Woman on the Sabbath" (circa late 1890s) by James Tissot. Public Domain

When a woman who had spent 18 years crippled encountered Jesus Christ while worshiping at her local synagogue, he miraculously healed her, the Bible records in Luke 13:10-17. There was a problem, though: the synagogue leader and some other Pharisees who were present expressed anger that Jesus had broken a religious law by technically performing work on the Sabbath day.

Straightening Up and Praising God

The story starts in Luke 13:10-13: "On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for 18 years.

She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, 'Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.' Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

Here Jesus heals the woman in the same way he often does in the Bible -- through a combination of healing words and a healing touch. The woman instantly recovered from the condition that had afflicted her for 18 years.

Expressing Indignation

The story concludes in Luke 13:14-17: "Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, 'There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.'

The Lord answered him, 'You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for 18 long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?'

When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing."

This dialogue between Jesus and the religious leaders (the Pharisees) who witnessed the miraculous healing shows that both sides were indignant: First, the synagogue leader was indignant that Jesus had performed work on the Sabbath day.

Then Jesus (who also miraculously healed other people on other Sabbath days) expressed indignation that the Pharisees were more concerned about a technicality than they were about showing mercy. Jesus points out that the Pharisees themselves technically break their own religious laws when helping their thirsty animals, and asks them to consider how much more a person in great need (the crippled woman) is worthy of mercy and help.