He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath day. Behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and she was bent over, and could in no way straighten herself up. When Jesus saw her, he called her, and said to her, â€œWoman, you are freed from your infirmity.â€ He laid his hands on her, and immediately she stood up straight, and glorified God.
The ruler of the synagogue, being indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the multitude, â€œThere are six days in which men ought to work. Therefore come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day!â€
Therefore the Lord answered him, â€œYou hypocrites! Doesnâ€™t each one of you free his ox or his donkey from the stall on the Sabbath, and lead him away to water? Ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound eighteen long years, be freed from this bondage on the Sabbath day?â€
As he said these things, all his adversaries were disappointed, and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him. Luke 13:10-17 (WEB)
I do not think it is any coincidence that Luke the physician records so many healings in his gospel account.Â I do not know if in the â€œoriginal Greekâ€ there was the same amount of sarcasm or â€˜tongue in cheekâ€™ that I am personally hearing â€“ but I do tend to alternately chuckle and give a cheer to rival any college football game when I am reading through these stories!
Here is a woman whose infirmity has a rather obvious manifestation.Â She had suffered for eighteen years in a bent over position!Â The gospel account tells us that the source of the problem was spiritual.Â That makes me wonder if she had been humiliated or beaten down in some way all those years ago and convinced that she deserved to only â€˜grovelâ€™ her way through the rest of her life.Â I know some people like that although they are not physically frozen in that position; inside they are bent over with guilt and shame.
Jesus uses many ways to extend His healing power to someone in need.Â He has put mud on eyes and had others put their arm inside their sleeve and withdraw it to show the miracle.Â Others He speaks just a simple word or phrase.Â Here Jesus puts his hands on the woman.Â Touching a â€˜less than perfectâ€™ individual just was not done â€“ they could be unclean!!!
Eighteen years of suffering is wiped away in a moment!Â And what does the Church leadership decide to say in response?Â â€œWOW!Â Look what God has done!â€?Â No!Â Instead they tell the people (just in case thereâ€™s another needy, sick person hanging around!) â€œGet your healing done on some other day than the Sabbath!!!â€Â â€œObservance of the Sabbath is more important than any healing!â€Â No wonder the leadership was mad and the people were glad!
Sabbath is a time for God and His people to commune together.Â We offer Him praise and worship and thanksgiving.Â God brings us wisdom, understanding, and refreshing so that we may serve Him another day!Â And, yes, — He desires to bring healing!
When the Pharisees saw it, they said to his disciples, â€œWhy does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?â€
When Jesus heard it, he said to them, â€œThose who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick do. But you go and learn what this means: â€˜I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,â€™ for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.â€ Matthew 9:11-13 (WEB)
Do we operate the Church as a hospital, taking in the sick and suffering any time they come?Â Do we â€˜triageâ€™ these people as a top priority?Â Jesus did. Do we pay attention to the needs of those who come to our fellowship?Â Do we pay attention to the many people who are â€˜bent overâ€™ under that weight of their sin and guilt?Â Or are we more concerned with getting all the ritual pieces done â€˜correctlyâ€™? When was the last time that the order of worship was suspended in order to pray for someone in need? Is there time for prayer requests? Is there time for praises and thanksgiving? Are we too afraid of something taking too much time or getting â€˜out of handâ€™?
Forgive me, Father. May my heart be more about repentance and obedience. With the strength of Jesus, I pray. Amen.