A CRIPPLED WOMAN
Scripture reference: Luke 13:10–17 Bible Search Tool
As far as the woman was concerned, her need had been met, and God given the glory due to His name. But the ruler of the synagogue was indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath when people were not to work.
Jesus was scandalized by this man’s insensitivity. He called the man a hypocrite and said, “ ‘Ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound; think of it; for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?’ ” (Luke 13:16).
Christ’s contemptuous words challenging the synagogue official call all of us to keep human need in clear focus. The sufferer:
• was a woman, a human being.
• was a daughter of Abraham, an object of God’s love.
• was a victim of Satan, who hates humankind.
• had suffered for eighteen long years.
It was only right that He should act to free her from her bondage.
Christ’s opponents “were put to shame” (Luke 13:17). The phrase doesn’t mean that they were ashamed but that Jesus had publicly exposed their indifference to people in need. Their response was far from the love of neighbor God’s Law called for (Lev. 19:18). They had used their public commitment to keep every detail of the Law as a cloak to disguise their spiritual emptiness, and Jesus had exposed them. The crowds had seen their legalism—their true nature—contrasted with Christ’s compassion for this suffering woman.
• Grace is God’s bottom line, and compassion is its hallmark. Let’s be careful lest we become so righteous that we no longer care for sinners.
• How good it is to know that we can rely on God’s grace. Like the healed woman, we are freed by Christ to glorify God.
THE ANOINTING WOMAN AT SIMON THE LEPER’S HOUSE
Scripture references: Matthew 26:1-2, 6–13; Mark 14:3–9 Bible Search Tool
There were three occasions on which women displayed their love for Jesus by anointing him with precious perfumes. This woman is unnamed, but her act is memorialized.
She anointed Jesus just two days before His crucifixion. Unlike the other anointing women, she poured it on Christ’s head rather than His feet. Again there were objections. Wouldn’t it have been better to sell the ointment and give the money to the poor? Jesus responded:
“Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me.“For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (Matt. 26:10–13).
Jesus’ words bring the woman’s action into focus. He said, “ ‘She did it for My burial’ ” (Matt. 26:12). We do not know whether the woman understood the significance of her action, but Matthew 26:1 tells us that Jesus had just told “His disciples” that He was about to be crucified. Since women were among His disciples, it is possible that she knew exactly what she was doing. Hers was undoubtedly an act of love, but it may well have signaled an understanding of what Jesus faced that the male disciples lacked.
This anointing was destined to be the only anointing Jesus’ body would receive for His death. Before the women who planned to anoint His dead body returned to the tomb where Jesus was laid, He had risen from the dead.
No wonder then that the retelling of this incident is a “memorial to her” (Matt. 26:13).
SALOME (the Mother of James and John)
Scripture references: Matthew 20:20–23; 27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1; John 19:25 Bible Search Tool
Date: About a.d. 30
Name: Salome [suh-LOE-mee: “peaceable”]
Main contribution: She was the mother of Jesus’ disciples James and John.
Salome was married to Zebedee and was the mother of the disciples James and John. She herself was a follower of Jesus, and on one occasion tried to influence Christ to favor her two sons. While she is not mentioned frequently, Salome had known Jesus from the beginning of His public ministry.
Salome’s early relationship with Jesus (Matt. 4:21; Mark 1:19–20; Luke 5:10). After Jesus’ baptism, He had spent time in Capernaum, the hometown of Peter, James and John. Jesus was a familiar figure in the home of Peter and Zebedee, and Salome would have known the young Teacher from near by Nazareth through her two sons. Undoubtedly Jesus had visited Zebedee’s home and eaten there with His friends.
Mark 15:41 lists Salome as one of the women who had become His followers in Galilee and who had “ministered to him” there. While we can assume that Salome continued to follow Jesus and help support His ministry, the next time she is mentioned is in Matthew 20:20–23. It was late in Jesus’ ministry, and that Passover at which Jesus would be crucified was drawing all too near.
Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom” (Matt. 20:20, 21).
It’s significant that Salome felt comfortable making this request for her sons. She had followed Jesus faithfully, and she knew that He would listen to her. But when Jesus responded, He spoke to the two disciples, not their mother. She had asked, but it is possible that they had put her up to it. Jesus turned down Salome’s request, but when the other disciples heard about it, they were angry with the two brothers, not with her. Most likely they knew Salome well, and they realized she would not think of trying to gain an advantage for her sons if they had not urged her.
Salome’s presence with Jesus to the end (Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1). The text places Salome at the cross with the other women who were Jesus’ most faithful follows. Salome was also among those who carried spices to the garden tomb that first Easter morning only to discover that Jesus had been raised from the dead. And so Salome was one of those disciples who had followed Jesus from the beginning and who continued with Him to the end.
We are told little of Salome. She was a wife and mother. She was a faithful follower and supporter of Jesus. She knew Jesus before He began His mission, and she stayed close by Him during the years that followed.