Lord, help me always to see the big picture.
Read LUKE 13:10–17
Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath
10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
14 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.”
15 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? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”
17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Ho-sea 6:6)
At first glance, this story appears to be a straightforward physical healing story; however, let’s look closer. The crippled woman is a nameless person, known only as “the bent woman.” Her identity may have been consumed by her disease, as her distorted back forced her to stare continually at the ground, rarely looking anyone in the eyes. You can feel her shame and disgrace. In the past I have prayed for someone with severe scoliosis, whose back was twisted and bent like this. It is an excruciating long-term condition.
Jesus addresses her isolation by speaking directly to her and tenderly placing his hand on her – and she is immediately healed. She begins to praise God, as Jesus declares that she is “set free” (16) from her infirmity and is able to stand tall for the first time in 18 long years. There is another healing here, too. Jesus calls her a ‘daughter of Abraham’ (16), the only occurrence of this phrase in the New Testament. Jesus is celebrating her as an heir to the patriarch of the faith, to whom the promise was given that a great people would come through him (Genesis 15:5, 6). She is an heir of this blessing and is now free to become a blessing to others as well.
The petty synagogue leader resents this healing because it is the Sabbath day, but he misses the beauty of what just happened. Jesus makes it clear that relieving misery is infinitely more important than overemphasizing rules. He also points out the hypocrisy of the elders in caring for their animals, yet refusing to rejoice when a fellow human being is freed from Satan’s bondage.
The nameless bent woman represents everyone caught in disease, shame, isolation, or labels. Where do you need healing? Ask and receive God’s healing power in your own life, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. He is the God who makes broken people into bearers of His promises and blessings.
Lord, you overrode artificial rules for the sake of humanity. We so appreciate Your emphasis on people rather than conformity.
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