On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 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. When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then He put His hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. 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.” 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? 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?” When He said this, all of His opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things He was doing. (Luke 13: 10-17, NIV)
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Today we will dive into the miracle of the crippled woman in the Gospel of Luke.
It is a glorious story of how Jesus comes to address our ultimate need. The story highlights a woman who is healed of a spirit that has left her doubled over for eighteen long years!
While teaching in the synagogue, Jesus sees, speaks, touches, and frees this woman. It is miraculous and there is so much rich application we can take from it.
However, there is another character highlighted who shares the need of freedom but will not receive it because of his posture. This is the story of two different people, two different postures, sharing the need of one All Powerful God!
Scripture tells us that this woman has been bent over underneath the crippling spirit of Satan for 18 years!! The word for “bent” here would mean, to be “doubled” over looking at the ground. She was unable to straighten herself at all. Her posture was low.
While teaching in the synagogue, Jesus sees the woman amidst her condition and calls her to Himself. He speaks freedom from her disability and then lays His hands on her making her straighten up immediately.
Jesus’ treatment of this woman was absolutely radical for the day. In Judean society, women were treated with little respect and value.
We see Jesus come and cast all the “rules” of the day to the side in order to serve her. He looks at her, speaks to her, and then touches her and the response is immediate praise and worship!
Her story is my story. It is your story. It is the world’s story.
The woman could not straighten herself and neither can you. Jesus alone can free us and cause us to walk upright before God.
We are "doubled over" under the demonic power of Satan until the Redeemer swoops in seeing, speaking, touching and freeing us from the weight of Satan. And now our immediate response to freedom from sin is giving continuous glory to Him until He comes again!
The leader of the synagogue sees a woman healed by Jesus and is immediately angry.
Rather than celebrating the freedom and healing that Christ had brought, the leader is angry because it happened on the Sabbath.
According to the law, you could not work on the Sabbath. Religious leaders had added their own rules to the Laws of Scripture and had played in the fields of self-righteousness for years! They made up rules to their own game (no healing on Sabbath) in order to show themselves more righteous than others! Jesus addresses the faulty theology immediately and calls it out into the light.
He reminds them that they even “untie” their animals on the Sabbath and lead them to water so that they can live, and yet they are trying to forbid Jesus of untying this woman on the Sabbath so that she can live. In his effort to present himself as upright and self-righteous, Jesus sees who he is and calls him a hypocrite. His posture is high.
Jesus’ Offer to Both
The Kingdom offer of Jesus Christ was the same to the crippled as it was the self-righteous; repentance and faith. Some needs are at first glance visibly, while others are buried deep inside.
Whatever the need, the solution and Kingdom offer is the same for both.
The ground at the cross is level and the call is still the same for us today.
Take some time in prayer to recognize your brokenness, recognize your foolishness, come amidst your sickness with a heart of repentance and faith, and remind your heart of God’s freedom.
He is what turns things upright - but only through a posture of humility. (For further study: 1 Sam. 16:7, Eph. 2:8-9, Mt. 23:12)
Thank you for the read! We would love your help sharing it. And as always, have a great day.
[guest writer, Kristina Villines]