Prepare to Listen. Take your time to be still, using this prayer: Turn my heart to your decrees, and not to selfish gain.
Prayerfully Read Luke 13:10-17
10Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, ‘Woman, you are set free from your ailment.’ 13When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, ‘There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.’ 15But the Lord answered him and said, ‘You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?’ 17When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.
I often wonder whether the priests, scribes and rulers of the synagogue, were the ones who, with their legalistic rules, caused “a spirit that had crippled [this woman] for eighteen years.” Even after Jesus set the woman free of her ailment, they showed her no mercy. Instead, they complained because Jesus healed in a sacred place (synagogue) on a sacred day (sabbath).
In her eagerness to meet Jesus, she defied the rules that forced her to hide behind a screen, and dared to stand where Jesus could see her. He did, and invited her to come forward, into a space where women weren’t allowed. Perhaps his initial words surprised her: “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” She expected healing, but Jesus gave far more, her freedom. The healing came, but first came freedom from that crippling spirit. Luke writes, “immediately she stood up straight and began praising God” and the congregation joined in, led by a woman in joyous praise to God in the synagogue. It enraged the synagogue ruler who tried repeatedly to silence them and regain control. His failure to show compassion which led to a sharp rebuke from Jesus, “You hypocrites!”
Jesus didn’t come to oppress the weak and marginalized but set them free.
How can live so that others experience freedom?
Respond to Jesus
Lord Jesus, despite opposition from those in charge, you graciously gave this woman healing and freedom from oppression. May I live this way today. Amen.
Live obediently. Live in ways that set others free.
I began reading my Bible when I was 8 years old. I loved it then (albeit didn't understand much) and I still love reading and studying it. I may understand a little more but I keep learning new stuff, seeing things I missed for years. This journey with Luke during Lent has been another new learning experience for me, deepening my relationship with Jesus. I pray it will do the same for you.