“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.” Luke 13.10-17
The woman was in bad shape. 18 years she had been crippled and unable to stand upright. She was in the synagogue on the Sabbath when Jesus was teaching. Rather than her approaching Jesus, Jesus called the woman forward. He saw that she was in pain, in agony, crippled and unable to live the life God had intended. So he said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Jesus put his hands on the woman, “immediately she straightened up and praised God.
What a show of compassion by Jesus. He sees all things but this particular day, he saw her. He had never met her but he knew her. He created and made her. He formed her while she was in her mothers womb. He saw her heart. Knowing that she was certainly downcast, limited by living in a crippled, bent over state, Jesus gave her back her life.
This is what Jesus does, he sets people free. But not everyone liked how he healed or when he healed. This particular healing was on the Sabbath, a day when the Jews were commanded to rest from their labor. After Jesus healed the woman the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not the Sabbath.”
But Jesus disagreed and said so. He rebukes the synagogue leader by using an illustration about how they break the laws of the Sabbath by caring for their animals. How much more “should this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years be set free on the Sabbath,” Jesus said. And the “people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.”
What is it about Jesus that makes him unique? What about his character that refuses for us to run from his grace? About is it about his love that compels us to have faith, trust in God, and live lives of holiness? Could it be his compassion? A Jewish rabbi in the synagogue on the sabbath identifies a need and does what God desires. This is Jesus. Wonderful, beautiful and filled with grace and compassion. This is Jesus, the God-man, born in the flesh, Immanuel with us.
Just as Jesus gave life back to the crippled woman, so he will do the same with us. Trust in his love. Call out to him for help. Learn to rely upon the one who is willing to redeem and rescue us from our infirmities and sin.
“O Lord God, you are good. I am so blessed to have received your touch of healing in my life. When I was broken by sin, you mended me. When I was lost and adrift upon the sea of sickness, you came to me. Come again, Lord God, Master of the wind and waves. Rescue the fallen, redeem the lost. I love you Lord and praise your name. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen