|The woman leaned
on her walking stick, resting briefly. Then she continued laboring toward
the synagogue. Because her body was bent over with her face parallel to
the ground, she could not keep up with her family and neighbors. She had
to leave home earlier than others so she could arrive on time.
People made their way around her as they talked to each other. Parents reminded their children to walk, not run, in respect of the Sabbath day. Laughter and conversation hummed in the street, but she felt invisible.
There was more excitement than usual. A traveling rabbi had arrived and was expected to teach the congregation today. She had overheard rumors that everywhere this young teacher Jesus and his students went, people were healed. But she knew how stories were often exaggerated; but she still hoped that maybe they were true.
Eighteen years she had been unable to walk upright or look into the faces of the people around her. At least she wasn't forced to see pity in the eyes of those who loved her. She often felt the disdain of those who thought she was being punished by God. She was “the crippled woman,” “cursed of God.” She longed to be able to stand up straight and hold her head up and look people in the eyes again. If only this rabbi really could bring her the release she longed to receive.
She listened intently to his words. The word of God always encouraged her. There was a pause in his speaking. Bewildered, she realized she was being asked to come closer to the teacher.
He said, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” As he laid hands on her and the power of God flowed into her body, her spine began to loosen. To her great delight, she was standing upright. Her joy was too great to contain. Out loud she gave honor* to God who healed her. She extolled his mercy and graciousness. Her body was restored. Her faith in God's faithfulness was affirmed.
Immediately, the religious leader of the synagogue began scolding her and others for seeking healing on the Sabbath. His remarks were meant to rebuke Jesus as well. But Jesus was more than a teacher; he was Lord.
“The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his 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?”
His opponents were humiliated while the onlookers were delighted. The woman heard herself called “Daughter of Abraham,” a term of respect and dignity. She would no longer be called “The Crippled Woman.” She had been set free!
Through this example, we learn that Jesus has the power and authority to release those who are held captive by the power of Satan. The woman came to Jesus; he called her to him; and he released her. She was now free to serve God with a healed body, mind, and spirit. Even when a body remains paralyzed or fails to respond to the mind's directions, Jesus is able to free the mind and the spirit to serve and praise God in this life. Those who remain his faithful disciples throughout this life will receive an incorruptible, immortal body at the resurrection.
When Christ returns to claim his kingdom, he will bind Satan who has bound so many to a life of pain and grief. Evil will no longer have power over anyone.
References: Luke 13:10-17; Matthew
4:23-25; *The New Strong's
Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (“glorified” 1392)