%@ Page Language="VB" ContentType="text/html" ResponseEncoding="iso-8859-1" %>
"And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all. And when Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, 'Woman, you are freed from your sickness.' And He laid His hands upon her; and immediately she was made erect again, and began glorifying God. And the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the multitude in response, 'There are six days in which work should be done; therefore come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day.' But the Lord answered him and said, 'You hypocrites, does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall, and lead him away to water him? And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?'" (Lk. 13:10-16).
In these simple words that only Luke records we find a fascinating lesson about Jesus:
Life For This Woman Was Difficult: -- Luke tells us that she had a sickness that made her bent double. She had been this way for eighteen years. There are so many things that she could not do. She could not lift her head to see the stars at night. She could not see what was ahead of her, only what was beneath her. She could not reach for things above her, or lift up a child or do the many things that we do each day.
She Had Not Given Up On God: -- This miracle takes place in the synagogue. This crippled woman somehow made it to the place of worship. What a testimony to her faith! We wonder how many prayers she had prayed in those eighteen years, asking God to heal her. Yet she remained bent over. Eighteen years with an illness or handicap has a way of wearing down a person. We could understand if she was discouraged. Some might even give up on God. Not this woman! Stooped and walking slowly, she made it to the house of worship. There is no indication in the text that she even knew Jesus was going to be there. She went to worship as usual. There is no indication either that she called out to Him to heal her. Often we read of the lame and blind begging Jesus to have mercy on them. This woman seemed to be sitting quietly in the synagogue and listening to Jesus or whoever might have been reading or speaking.
Incredibly, Jesus Noticed Her: -- How many others had looked at this stooped woman over these eighteen years but really didn't see her at all. Every week for eighteen years she had shuffled in and found her place. Some may have complained about her slowness or her physical condition distracting from the service. Others may have wondered why she even bothered to come. How hard was it for this woman to get up on the Sabbath day, or any other day and dress herself and go about doing what she could do? Yet, the Lord saw her because Jesus had an eye for the hurting.
By the way, how many people shuffle or walk with the help of a cane or a walker or even in a wheelchair into our assemblies each week, bent with physical and even mental problems, in pain and with worries of maybe being a burden to someone who has to give them a hand in getting in through the door or getting into their pew. It is true that we maybe see them, but do we really see them and have compassion on them as Jesus always did? But we can be assured that God "sees" and knows the crippling load that each one of them carries. And He cares.
Incredibly, Jesus Called To Her: -- This was most unusual in a synagogue service where women only observed. There would have been much commortion for this bent over woman to walk up to Jesus. Everyone would have gawked at this embarrassing moment. Or if she had even called out to Him. Jesus, after all, had not announced His intentions and worshipers must have wondered what was happening. It would have been easier for Jesus, a young man in His early thirties, to make a few quick strides over to where she was. He could have bent down and said quietly in her ear, "you are free." But, no, Jesus intended for everyone to watch what He was going to do. And, thereby He would be able to use the example to teach others who He really was and what powers God had given Him to use upon the earth in His teaching.
Jesus Touched Her, He Healed Her: -- This is expressed in three ways. First, verbally, as Jesus proclaims that she is freed from her sickness. Second, physically, as He touches her. Third, the most obvious, she stood erect and glorified God.
The Story Doesn't End Here: -- Luke tells us of another crippled person who was crippled in his heart. He was bent over in his ways and rigid to the point that he was abusive and lacking compassion. This official became "indignant." The man doesn't even speak to Jesus but addresses the crowd by stating boldly that there are six days in which she could have been healed, but not on the Sabbath. Yet for eighteen years this woman has been in that community and who had helped her? Jesus responds by talking directly to the official. In His response, the Lord referred to the woman as "a daughter of Abraham," a term of endearment that acknowledged her faith.
This is an incredible story about .... an incredible Savior!
By Roger Shouse in Biblical Insights, Vol. 6, No. 6, June 2006.
Return to the General Articles page
Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /