By Pr Ay Nee Ng
Let us read Luke 13:10-17, the story of a crippled woman who was healed on a Sabbath.
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. 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.
Here is a woman who for 18 years walked with difficulty. She was bent over and rigid; she couldn’t straighten up. Imagine anyone living bent over for eighteen years. Something must have happened; a great burden must have weighed down her shoulders and soul. Just imagine that she wouldn’t be able to hold a baby or a child, hug and be hugged, lift up her head to look at the starry nights, toss her head back to enjoy the beautiful breeze, or even look up and have eye to eye contact without great effort and difficulty. Some things in life that we take for granted. It comes easy to us but with some difficulty to someone who suffers an impediment or disability.
It isn’t told if she was married or had children. Most probably she lost out on all those good years and blessings of having a normal life, deprived of all the familiar blessings others considered their due. Pain must have reeked out although there was no mention of her grumbling and mumbling or complaining. She hadn’t come to the synagogue to seek healing, but when Jesus spotted her, He singled her out.
Jesus understood her pain and suffering and knew she was bound by a spirit for eighteen years and wanted to set her free. It was an urgent matter for Him that could not wait another day. Jesus hated that demon that robbed her of life abundantly, and so even on the Sabbath, Jesus commanded that spirit that bound her to leave her and then laid His hand on her back.
She was healed by the Master’s touch! Jesus first commanded the spirit that bound her to go and then He touched her back. She straightened up immediately. To God be the glory!!! She was over joyed and gave praises and thanksgiving to God, but her joy was cut short when the synagogue rulers rebuked Jesus for healing her on Sabbath, disapproving what Jesus did on Sabbath, and used the law to rebuke her, disapproving her for receiving healing .
How religious can one become? Instead of being over joyed for that poor lady who, for 18 years, no one had paid attention, bothered about, cared for, or given a second glance, the people felt that an injustice had been done; someone had broken the Sabbath law. How religious and selfish can one be!
Church, can we see this? When someone receives a miracle, it is great and wonderful news. Yet, we try to find fault in how they got it. Or we are in disbelief and disapprove it because it is not done the way we think it should be. We send the wrong signals and want to bind that person back into infirmity. Well, that is what the synagogue rulers did; as it did not fall in with the religious law, she shouldn’t have to be healed. No wonder Jesus called them hypocrites.
Poor woman, never much of being in the centre of attention. She had known how she looked to her loved ones and others, but now everyone was looking at her. Some looked with awe and amazement, but majority with disapproval because they believed no one could work on Sabbath and receiving something that day would be considered work; it’s against the Sabbath law.
Jesus’ answer brought humiliation to His opponents and reassured the woman that she was certainly valued. Jesus understood that she needed to understand her worth in the eyes of God. God had made her in His own image and called her out of darkness into His marvellous light to spend eternity with Him.
Church, Jesus knows what we are going through! When God heals, we understand, like the woman, that God has prepared for us works ahead for His kingdom and a destiny to fulfil. How outrageous that anyone should suggest she should be content to suffer even one minute more or reject her healing because it did not suit the time or occasion. God forbid!
Take a moment now and see with spiritual eyes what is binding us, maybe even longer than this woman. What spirit has gripped us from inside that we can’t stand straight? Do we really know Jesus? Is there bitterness and unforgiveness that still holds us? When we can’t let go a spirit grips us, we need the blood of the Lamb to cleanse us and set us free.
For example, a child called Sam comes home and his mom asks him where he got the ruler he has in his backpack. He answers that a friend gave it to him. But the next day, his mom finds the ruler at home; he didn’t bring it to school. When he comes back from school, she asks him why the ruler was left at home. Sam can’t look his mom in the eye but looks down. Then his mom starts getting a bit suspicious, and finally, he says that he doesn’t know why he took it and he knows he shouldn’t take it, but because he was frightened. He knew he did wrong when he told a lie too. His mom tells him to return it and apologize, saying he took by mistake.
When Sam knew he shouldn’t do the wrong thing, but he still did it, he was gripped by something, as if a force made him do it. Like Sam, the sooner we recognise this and say “no” to it, the better. That spirit needs to be renounced immediately, and as we grow older, we should continue recognising sin, confessing our sins, renouncing to all sin, and turning away from our sinful ways. Whatever is binding us, we need to let it go. Let go of the past because it can hurt you even more if you don’t let go. We need to allow Jesus Christ into our lives to let go of the pain is less and experience forgiveness flowing into our lives. In Christ, we can sense a weight leaving us. Jesus Christ, our Master, is here to bring healing to us with His supernatural touch.
“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:11-14; NIV).
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well” (Mark 16:17-18; NIV).
The Lord has given us authority and anointed us afresh to lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. All those who are weary and heavy laden God is here to bring rest to our weary soul. All we need to do is receive Him into our lives. Let’s open our heart to Him and receive from our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s pray together.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, completely erase, dislodge, and remove from my mind, my memory, and my emotions, the sting of bad memories. Take away all my hurts, pains, bruises bitterness, hatred, resentment, desperation, anger, sorrows, grief, and frustrations. I don’t want any of them. I don’t want to remember my past anymore. And whatever spirit that had me bound, I renounce every work of darkness and ask it to go from me now and loose myself from this stronghold and loosen the power of Your Holy Spirit over my life right now.
Anything that should not be in me, Lord, take it away and fill me right now with Your peace, Your joy, and Your love. Holy Spirit , I need You right now to Comfort, Heal my memory, Heal my broken heart and bind up my broken spirit. Take over my entire life completely and change me to be more like you, Lord.
In Jesus’ name I dedicate my life to You and pray this in Your most precious and Holy name, Jesus. Amen
“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord” (Ezek. 22:30-31; NIV).
The altar is opened for anyone needing healing and prayers. God is looking for anyone who will stand in the gap for your love ones who are in rebellion, who is in trouble, and who is sick. Will you come to the altar and lift up your prayers to the Lord?