Luke 13 verses 10 – 21
Luke 13 v 12. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Women, you are set free from your infirmity.”
If the previous section of this magnificent gospel reminded us of the shortness of time and the urgency of the day, this powerful story reminds us that no matter how long anyone has been in bondage to Satan, that person can be saved instantaneously, right now! Nobody ever has to wait for God to receive them and release them.
But this incident of healing took place in a very unfriendly environment. It happened in a synagogue where the ruler or director of the synagogue was trapped by ignorance of the true meaning of the Sabbath, and therefore unable to see the woman’s personal pain nor the wonder of what happened to her. Cold religion always does that. It has a hardening effect on the heart and the sensitivities and it blinds the eye to the truth of God’s grace.
Consider this women’s problem. We are not told what her actual problem was (remember Luke was a doctor) after it is described simply as an “infirmity.” But notice what her condition did to her. She was permanently “bent over.” She had been robbed of a significant part of her human dignity. She could not straighten herself up. We can view this simply as a human infirmity of a physical condition and leave it at that, or we can see something a little more significant in it. The human beings anatomical stance is more than a mere anatomical stance. It is given to us to live and walk upright.
You may recall the story of the dumb man recorded in Luke 11 v 14 – 26. There we noted that the faculty of speech was something that was distinctively human. So here is the account of this woman with her affliction. We need to remember that our God given upright stance is an appropriate expression of the official dignity God places on men and women.
One can also easily see in the picture of the “bent back”, the posture of one who carries great burdens. It is the picture of a slave under the yoke.
Here we have another metaphor for the effects of oppression and slavery. And if this sounds too fanciful remember that twice in this story this woman is described as being under the oppression of Satan – read v 11 and also verse 16. Remember our arch enemy is filled with malevolence. He is a thief and a destroyer. From the beginning he has sought to destroy human kind and rob them of their dignity.
It is not normal for any of us to have bent backs. I know some are born with deformities, or maybe injured in some way and as we get older we complain of sore backs. But that is not the point here. Here is a woman who by virtue of the malevolence and cunning of Satan is afflicted and bent over. She has no power to free herself. What will Jesus do about her.
We will see tomorrow.