Women Impacted by Jesus – part 13
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.[Luke 13:10-13 NIV]
Jesus saw her. Jesus spoke to her. Jesus laid hands on her. Jesus set her free.
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 his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing. [Luke 13:14-17 NIV]
Jesus affirmed her, declaring that she was worthy of being set free on the Sabbath.
This woman left the synagogue with newfound freedom. Imagine the impact of simply being able to walk home with a straightened posture! Before she met Jesus, her eyes were permanently cast downward, perhaps with the ability to glance a bit to each side. Now, this woman could look up, down and all around. I wonder where she chose to look now that she had the freedom to choose.
A few years back, I wrote these words while experiencing an afternoon of solitude and silence with the Lord: “Stop looking down, in, up. Start looking forward, at.” I was convicted by my tendency to avert my gaze from others. I confessed my preference to deliberately look away, be self-absorbed, or even at times to look to God to avoid looking at others. God’s word to me was very clear: “Look at people. Notice their circumstances. Consider what I may want to do for them through you.”
In this month when Americans celebrate independence and freedom, may we remember that Jesus is the One who is able to set us free from whatever cripples. Do not declare independence from Jesus. Rather, cooperate with Him. Jesus sends us forward with the commission to see others and respond in obedience to the Spirit’s promptings. Perhaps He will work through one of us this month and set someone free from her infirmity.