The story that I studied is found in Luke 13:10-17. The passage contains a typical example of challenge and riposte. While teaching in the synagogue one Sabbath Jesus sees a woman who was bent over due to her crippling disability. When Jesus heals her, the ruler of the synagogue indirectly challenges Jesus’ right to heal her on the Sabbath. He addresses the crowd saying that they should come to the temple the other six days of the week for healing, but they should not come on the Sabbath. Jesus replies by accusing the teachers themselves of being hypocrites. They often take care of their animals on the Sabbath, but they became unjustly indignant because Jesus heals a person on the Sabbath.
2. Honor & Shame vocabulary and/or actions
The ruler of the synagogue addresses the crowd not Jesus. I believe the leader is trying to take advantage of this supposed miscue by Jesus. Silva describes this sort of encounter in his book, “The challenge-riposte is essentially an attempt to gain honor at someone else’s expense by publically posing a challenge that cannot be answered.” The leader is seeking to gain honor and dishonor Jesus with his challenge.
Jesus calls the leaders hypocrites. He is publicly accusing them of not being what they profess to be. This is slander of their character, as Jesus sharply responds to the issued challenge.
Jesus calls the woman a daughter of Abraham. Names are an integral to honor. Jesus has not only healed this woman, but he elevates her in the eyes of the public by reminding them that she is not just a woman, but a daughter of the esteemed Abraham who is worthy of being healed.
Luke directly states that Jesus’ adversaries were put to shame. Jesus successfully defended His honor against the challenge of the synagogue leader, and it was done in the public court. The people rejoice at Jesus’ response and actions elevating His honor.
3. Honor & Shame and the values promoted and undermined
Jesus clearly emphasizes the importance of loving people. The Jews misunderstood the law. They established their own statutes. Then they put the observance of these laws in high esteem, and they often shunned the poor and needy in favor of actions that allowed them to appear righteous to their peers. Jesus demonstrated how to obey the law without disregarding people.
Jesus used this opportunity to elevate the position this crippled woman. In Israel there was a negative connotation attached to people who contracted devastating infirmities for long periods of time. This was indicative of larger problems in the Jewish social structure:
Taken in its ancient context, the notion of illness or infirmity does not point simply to a physical illness but also relates to social and personal perceptions of socially disvalued states. The presence of an evil spirit within and the reality of an infirm or un-whole physical condition provided cause for the bent woman to be labeled “unclean”.
In public opinion she...