It was the Sabbath, and Jesus was in a synagogue. We are not told which synagogue He was in, nor are we even sure of the city. Judea? Galilee? Both are likely, but each contained a multitude of synagogues. What we do know was that Jesus was there, for He in perfect obedience was remembering the Sabbath day, keeping it holy.
He was there, and He was teaching. Since the age of twelve, Jesus would be found in the synagogues of Israel, leaving in awe even the most learned of Israel’s teachers. Should we be surprised? No one was like unto Jesus. At the Transfiguration, when Jesus was in the company of Moses the Lawgiver and Elijah the Prophet, the Father spoke down from Heaven, proclaiming that we should listen to Jesus the Son.
But this was not your typical Saturday service at the synagogue. If Jesus’ uniquely authoritative teaching wasn’t enough to get the religious leaders on edge, it just so happened that at this particular synagogue, a woman who was vexed by Satan with physical infirmity for eighteen years came to worship.
We are told that she was “bent over,” that she could not in any way “raise herself up,” but she was there. And Jesus saw her.
And He freed her.
For eighteen years she was stooped over, bound by that Old Serpent… Today, with but a phrase uttered by the Lamb of God, she stands up straight, and she glorifies God.
It’s curious that eighteen years it took for someone to free her. It was no medical problem that afflicted her; rather, her problem was spiritual (being caused by Satan himself).
Had she been going to that synagogue or others like it throughout all those years? Had anyone even tried to rescue her from the affliction of the devil?
The woman could barely walk; you think arthritis of the back is bad? Try living with Satan on your back for two decades! This definitely was not the woman you’d see out everyday on her morning jog, yet she did not let that get in the way of her obeying the Fourth Commandment.
Today, Jesus Christ rewarded her faithfulness.
And the religious leaders? “There are six days that she could have come to me to be healed! She kept coming on the Sabbath, and I’m just not going to do that kind of thing on the Sabbath!”
Jesus response was terse. “Hypocrite!” He bit back. “Every single one of you take time to care for your own donkeys and oxen, loosing them to take them to water; should not this woman, this darling daughter of Abraham, not have been freed from the bonds placed upon her by Satan?”
Upon the woman was shown unyielding compassion on the part of Jesus, and in so doing He revealed the hypocrisy, the futility of the religious leaders.
Years later, the Apostle Paul would write that regardless of what he may have, if he has not love, it is all worthless. These religious leaders lacked the love that ought to have been characteristic of their whole ministry.
Jesus put them to shame by doing what they ought to have been doing. Could you imagine that? The religious leaders, who poured over the Scriptures, who taught them to to others, were put to total shame by He of whom the Scriptures testify.
Their zeal for the Law caused them to completely miss the Judge when He walked into their presence.
And by the time He left the building, all the multitude of people who had gathered were rejoicing, giving praise for the glorious things which Christ had done.
Tomorrow morning, I hope that’s the atmosphere at your church. May Christ be glorified.
And take care not to overlook those who may be stooped over, burdened by Satan. Jesus is still able to free them!
This account from the life of Jesus found in Luke 13:10–17.