Christ the Healer: The Crippled Woman

Christ the Healer: The Crippled Woman

Christ the Healer: The Crippled Woman.

Please read Luke 13:10-17

  1. The Synagogue. Jesus was an orthodox Jew in good standing, spreading the Word in the presence of other orthodox Jews, in the local meeting place for such things, the synagogue. He was teaching Scripture, reading from Torah, leading discussion, answering questions. Jesus did this virtually every Sabbath, it was part of His ministry, his duty as a well-respected rabbi. Good things tend to happen when you’re just doing your duty. Has that ever happened to you?
  2. A Crippled Woman. There was a woman at the synagogue who was seriously handicapped, painfully disabled, doubled over for 18 years. She couldn’t straighten her back all that time, she was unable to stand up straight and look people in the eye. Luke says that she was crippled by an evil spirit, that her infirmity was caused by a demonic spirit of bondage. Have you ever had an injury or a disability that kept you from walking or talking freely, of doing something as basic as standing up straight? What quality must this woman have had, to endure this for 18 years? What would be going through her mind and emotions in the synoagogue, standing near Jesus?
  3. Satan. Can someone say with certainty that a physical condition was caused by Satan? Perhaps in this way… Ever since Satan lured Adam and Eve into rebellion against God, to sin against God the Creator, nature has been a part of the Fall. Nature, natural life, is now tainted with fallenness, cursed by sin, and will be so until the new creation is brought into being. There was no disease or sickness or disability before the Fall of man. Our physical nature is fallen, and is vulnerable to all manners of problems, to unnatural intruders like injury, sickness and disease. There may indeed be many immediate causes of a physical condition, but everything broken and unnatural can be traced back to the source of sin and fallenness, the devil. It’s like tracing tributaries back to the original river. We know so much more now of physical health and ailments, and so we may not necessarily attribute a disability or disease to an evil spirit, but we can with certainty point to the ultimate source of the brokenness, to Satan and his devils. It has been said that God allowed an unusual amount of demonic activity  during the time of Jesus, so that He could show the world His power over the demonic realm. What do you think of this idea? Are there still evil spirits in this world? Remember what John said to believers, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). In fact, Jesus saw as His calling “to destroy the works of the devil.” This healing is one more story of how Jesus has power over Satan and over the effects of sin and brokenness.
  4. Healing. Jesus saw this woman who was suffering. He had compassion on her, and He called her over to Him. She did her part, she came over to where Jesus was standing. He then gently touched her and spoke words of healing over her, and she was immediately released from her terrible disability. She instantly stood up straight and tall, looked Him in the eyes, and she began to praise God. Jesus didn’t have to mumble some special formula for exorcising the spirit. He didn’t even ask about her faith. He just spoke sweet words of endearment, “Dear woman,” and released her from her miserable condition. There was no conversation. In fact, we didn’t hear from the woman until after she was healed. Can you imagine the joy and relief she must have felt? How did her life change from then on? Have you ever been released from a long-term condition through natural or supernatural healing? Describe how you felt.
  5. Indignant. The leader of this synagogue was offended that Jesus would do the work of a doctor and heal someone on the Sabbath, when there wasn’t any type of emergency with a life hanging in the balance. He considered it unlawful labor, and he told the crowd what he thought of Jesus the law-breaker. The leader even accused the sick people of starting the whole problem by coming to get healing on the Sabbath. How dare they want to get healed! Do you have any traditions or customs, like this leader, that might interfere with God’s work? That might get in the way of what God wants to do? Have you ever seen an unreasonable leader blame the victim like this man did? Do you know of any rule or law that seems inconsistent with real life, in which you almost feel like a hypocrite for following it?
  6. Frauds. After the leader spoke his piece of nonsense, Jesus in return called his critic frauds for believing this sort of thing. He called them hypocrites, since all technically break the Sabbath every week by caring for their animals. Isn’t a woman crippled by Satan valued more highly than farm animals, Jesus asks, since she needs someone to care for her? And this beloved woman is a true daughter of Abraham! You are full of it, says Jesus to these rigid, hard-hearted law-keepers. The leader and the critics could say nothing in return. They were red-faced with shame. They were made to look silly and they were humiliated in public. There are times in the Gospels when Jesus wasn’t “nice.” He stubbornly stood up to the critics, He strongly advoacated for the weak and downtrodden, and He forcefully demonstrated His compassion. Are there times when it’s okay not to be nice?
  7. Praise. The rest of the crowd was delighted, they were overjoyed with what they saw Jesus say and do, not only for silencing His enemies, but also advocating for and healing the sick. They rejoiced in loud voice, Luke says, over the glorious things Jesus was doing. This is the perfect ending to this true morality tale. A story-book ending, for sure. The good guys won, the bad guys lost. Why is that so satisfying?
  8. Big Question. What have we learned about Jesus in this story?