As Jesus is the cornerstone upon which the Church is built, so are his teachings the unifying cornerstone of Christian doctrine.

Sabbath Freedom (Luke 13:14-17)

This is actually a story of two people in bondage, a crippled woman and a synagogue leader. The woman was in bondage to a crippling spirit. The synagogue leader was in bondage to human traditions and the letter of the law. Both needed a healing word from Jesus, one was the word “you are healed;” the other was an intervention.
Literally, two people needed to be healed, but in different ways. Morally, Israel was given the Sabbath as a day of freedom from seven workdays in Egypt. By analogy, human society tends to enforce a yoke of bondage, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Prophetically, only Jesus can truly free us from our natural human tendency to take freedom from each other.

Rejoice in Freedom (Luke 13:14-17)

Jesus set a woman free on the Sabbath day, but the synagogue leader could only see the day as a day of bondage to man-made rules of Sabbath observance. Jesus bluntly addresses the clear hypocrisy where cattle are set free to be watered on the Sabbath and clearly this “daughter of Abraham” should be set free of her crippling disease.
Literally, the comparison of freeing cattle and the woman shamed the synagogue leader. By analogy, many of our man-made church rules are called into question. Morally, any interpretation of Scripture that causes more bondage and less freedom ought to be questioned. Prophetically, would our church traditions sometimes become more Pharisaic than Christ-like? Christianity is a religion of freedom not bondage.

Biblical Healing (Luke 13:10-13)

Jesus healed a woman through word and touch. James (5:13-16) mentions faith, prayer and anointing oil. Naaman dipped in the Jordan seven times. Jesus made mud from spit and dirt. Faith is not always mandated. Paul sent (anointed) cloths to the sick (Acts 19:11-12). The Bible mentions many ways that healing was done. Within those guidelines is safety.
Literally, God heals us, not our prayer efforts or olive oil. By analogy, our care for the sick is a physical representation of the hands of Jesus, who does the healing. Morally, we have no right to draw attention to ourselves. Mystically, any healing in this life is only temporary, but symbolic of the permanent healing we receive in eternity.

You are Set Free (Luke 13:10-13)

In the synagogue on the Sabbath, Jesus saw a woman with a spirit of weakness, some kind of muscular disorder, caused by evil forces. Jesus told her that she was released or set free from the sickness. Jesus touched her in an appropriate gesture of encouragement to her faith and she was made straight and praised God for her healing. Literally, Jesus healed a woman with a weakness caused by an evil spirit. By analogy, she was freed on the day of freedom from work. Morally, Jesus, as the creator of the Sabbath day, had every right to determine what was appropriate conduct on that day. Prophetically the Sabbath pictures our day of eternal rest from wickedness all around us.

Why did Jesus teach us to Pray to Our Father? (Luke 2:40-52)

The idea of God as our Father offends a society which is abandoning Patriarchalism in favor of Feminism. Male leadership is called evil and female leadership good. God does not have gender, but described both male and female as very good. Feminine and masculine metaphors are used of God, but Jesus taught us to pray to Our Father in heaven. God is a Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit in one. Reducing creation to a competition between sexes insults God who created male and female to complement each other. Calling God our Father emphasizes his not being dependent upon any other for his identity, since the Son is generated by the Father and the Spirit proceeds from the Father.

Did Jesus Obey His Parents? (Luke 2:51-52)

To alleviate the fears of parents on earth, and to negate any kind of cultish ideas where family is ignored to follow a religious leader, the narrator reminds us that Jesus returned to Nazareth with his parents and obeyed them. Yet, here at age twelve, Jesus’ future mission is becoming evident to the reader. We are told that his parents didn’t know what to think, yet Mary stored these things in her heart, perhaps treasuring the extraordinary nature of her son’s encounter with learned teachers and wrestling with its significance.  Particularly, she may have been just as amazed as were those teachers at his understanding and his answers. Verses 40 and 52 reveal his growing favor with God and people.

Who is Your Father? (Luke 2:49)

The phrase I must be “in my Father’s house” in verse 49 actually refers to more than the Temple in Jerusalem. Many translations say “in my Father’s house” but the King James and others also legitimately translate it as “I must be about my Father’s business.” The words “house” or “business” are not in the Greek, but the phrase may be legitimately translated as something like, I must be involved in the things of my Father. So, the word house may be understood as household affairs or business. As we are converted, it is called being born again, or born from above. We are to honor our earthly fathers, but the Father who takes precedence is God our heavenly Father.

Did Jesus disobey his Parents? (Luke 2:40-52)

The narrative does not record that Jesus disobeyed any parental instructions. It does however, make a different point, that Jesus’ commitment to God’s purposes transcended even the expectations of a righteous household. We know that both Joseph and Mary obeyed the law by attending Passover, but Jesus’ calling was to eventually become the true Passover lamb. He would ultimately institute new elements at Passover, the bread and wine. So, it is that we find him given incredible wisdom at such a young age, able to hold his own with Jewish teachers highly educated in the Holy Scriptures. Notice a subtle shift in emphasis, from parents to child, but he returned to Nazareth with them and he was subject to them.

What is Mary’s Song? (Luke 1:46-55)

Mary’s ode became one of the church’s first hymns, perhaps written during her stay with Elizabeth during her pregnancy. The contrast between the exalted of this world and faithful, humble people characterizes the Magnificat. Mary sings with outrageous faith. She dares to believe that the poor will be saved, even though they continue to be trodden down, even in our day. It is a message of hope in present and continuing oppression by the world’s powerful. It dares to claim that the rich are really empty and that the humble are filled with good things. The birth of the Savior of the world in a stable to poor working-class people is a continual reminder of God turning things upside down.

What do the Proud and Haughty Do? (Luke 1:51)

Don and Sally had a wealthy business but constantly belittled their sons. Matt handled his mistreatment by disappearing from the family and John stayed trying hard to appease his abusive parents. The business will probably not survive. [1] In the US a 2009 study found that “most of the medical bankrupt were middle class… homeowners… had gone to college… [and] had health insurance.” [2] Some few people profit immensely from a failed system. In America 33% of the elderly live in poverty. The OECD average is 13.5%. The worst European states have elderly poor of 20-27% and only around 2% in the Netherlands and New Zealand. Causes of poverty include economic inequality, poor education, divorce, sickness, greed and corruption.
[1] Ruth Mcclendon, Leslie B Kadis. Reconciling Relationships and Preserving the Family Business: Tools for Success. Haworth Press, Inc. 2004. 60.

[2] 111th Congress. Medical Debt: Is Our Healthcare System Bankrupting Americans? US government Printing Office. 2009. 19.