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Monday, April 18, 2011

Jesus Heals the Woman bent over for 18 years

        Luke 13:10-13: On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been bent over 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.

        For 18 years a spirit had attached itself to this woman and weighed her down.. Sin is burdensome. It weighs us down. This could have been the spirit of unforgiveness, or bitterness, anger, resentment, jealousy, envy, lust, covetousness, sexual imorality, etc. as any sin can attach itself to any believer. This woman couldn't release herself of this spirit.  She was so bent over that she couldn't lift her head or look at anyone eye to eye.  All she could see was the ground.  She couldn't look up!  Jesus wants to release us of our burden of sin so we can look up with the eyes of faith.  
       This woman was the seed of Abraham, a Jew. She believed in the True God of Israel and was under the Law. She no doubt went to the synagogue every Sabbath praying that God would heal her and release her of her burden. Those present probably ignored her and her condition. Some may have even ridiculed her or rejected her or thought her unclean. But this woman did what she knew to do. She went to the Lord's House no doubt praying to be set free from this spirit that was weighing her down. 
       Everyone else may have ignored her, but Jesus saw her condition and wanted to help her be released from this spirit that burdened and bent her over. Jesus hated the evil one who had kept her in this condition for 18 years. When Jesus saw her, He called her to Himself. When the woman came to Him, Jesus spoke His powerful Word, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity."  The woman's obedience and the authoritative, powerful Word of Jesus, set the woman free.  Then Jesus touched her and she stood upright again (righteous). It was Jesus' love, powerful Word and His touch that set her free, lifted her up and let her walk uprightly again. 
       This woman was not only set free of this evil spirit, she was set free from the Law of rules and regulations. This woman walked righteously again through Jesus, and she praised God for setting her free. Sin weighs us down, but Jesus came to give us the power of the Holy Spirit to set us free from the sin that burdens us. Jesus wants us to walk uprightly with Him free from the power of sin in our lives.
       Of course, Jesus' detractors and faultfinders were watching. The religious ruler controlled by Satan wanted to reassert control over this woman again. Satan will try to use her own religion to convince her that she will not remain healed. Satan often uses the very Word of God to twist and manipulate Truth to steal our freedom in and through Christ. "Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, 'There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.' v14 He whom the Son sets free is free indeed! Jesus in His wisdom answers the religious ruler, "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?" vv15-16 In other words, "You care enough about your animals to set them free to drink water, but this woman who is the very seed of father Abraham is not worthy to be set free from Satan who has bound her for eighteen years?" Jesus showed them the ridiculousness of their religious, rigid rules. They are so busy with their religious rules that they missed the fact that their Messiah was in front of them. Jesus came to set the captive (burdened) free. Not only did Jesus set this woman free from the clutches of Satan, He also set the religious free from the rigidity of the rules and regulations the so-called religious leaders had placed upon God's people.
       This woman had value in Jesus' eyes because all of humanity is made in the image and likeness of God. It was an outrage to Jesus that these religious leaders were more concerned with an ox or a donkey than a human being. They should have also wanted to see this poor woman set free from her suffering and condition immediately not wait until the Sabbath was over, but they were more concerned with their religiosity than love and concern for the infirmed, burdened and bound! Jesus however saw her through the eyes of God and set her free and helped her walk righteously again.
       Those who love and follow Jesus must look for the downtrodden and bring them to Jesus for healing and freedom from the weight of sin. Jesus said, "My burden is light." Why? Because Jesus had no sin or material things to weigh Him down. Sin is weighty. So are the cares and riches of the world. Jesus wants those who love and follow Him to allow Him to remove sin from our lives, so little by little, we walk lighter with Jesus. Jesus agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane over the weight of the sin of the whole world He would soon have to carry to the cross. The love of the Father and Him toward all human beings was the motivating factor of Jesus' willingness to die for the sins of the whole world.  Jesus had never known this weight because He was sinless. He doesn't want us weighted down by sin either. If we are willing, Jesus will remove the sin that besets us and fill us with His ways and image so like Jesus our burden will also be light.

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