The Miracles of Jesus
March 24, 2021
Jesus heals a woman with a disabling spirit
There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.
We’ve all heard many children’s nursery rhymes in our lives. I always found the nursery rhyme about the crooked man sad.
There are a variety of interpretations of this nursery rhyme. When I hear it, I think of the many people I’ve seen throughout my life with a crooked body
I’ve known several people who have had scoliosis, a curvature of the spine. One of them wore a large brace from their neck to their waist during all of their waking hours.
In all of my years of working in supermarkets, before going into ministry, I have seen many older folks all bent over and twisted. Somehow, they persevere and continue life, even though they walk and move in what must be an uncomfortable position.
In today’s devotion, Jesus encounters a woman who has been crippled and bent over for 18 years.
“Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her,
“Woman, you are freed from your disability.”
And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” Then the Lord answered him,
“You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?”
As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.”
This miracle happens rather quickly. Jesus is teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath (Saturday). He sees the crippled woman, calls her over, touches her, and says, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.”
The woman is instantly healed after being disabled for so many years.
The story’s real point is not the healing (although all miracles and healings Jesus did and does are significant). Instead, it is about what is permissible to do on the Sabbath.
The Levitical law and those put in place by the teachers of the law were stringent. Basically, you were not allowed to do anything on the Sabbath that was work-related.
This particular synagogue leader is not happy with Jesus, not just because he performed a miracle but also because he got upstaged by Him. The ruler then doesn’t even have the decency to speak directly to Jesus. Instead, he chastises the people gathered in the synagogue for allowing themselves to be healed on the Sabbath.
Jesus has no stomach for this ruler. What Jesus says next would be considered righteous anger.
The idea here is that it’s okay for the religious leaders to feed and water their animals on the Sabbath. Still, I can’t heal this woman who has been suffering for eighteen years?
The religious leaders broke the stringent points of the Sabbath as much as anyone. How can anyone say you shouldn’t minister to others on the Sabbath?
You’ll notice Jesus never says that the woman in this story is demon-possessed, but He does say that Satan caused the ailment. Can you imagine the joy the now healed woman and her family felt after all her years of suffering?
When I first moved to Florida back in the late ’70s, many businesses closed on Sundays. It was always challenging to find an open gas station. Publix supermarkets were closed as well as many other shops. Unfortunately, things have changed, and people have forgotten what the Sabbath is for.
The Sabbath (our Sunday) is a time of renewal. Sorry to say, many people must work on Sunday and cannot even attend worship services. So, why not observe the Sabbath on Monday, Tuesday, or any other day of the week. When we observe the Sabbath, we are resting, as God did after His six days of creation. Sabbath is a time of spiritual renewal, to get in touch with God on a personal level and with our family. Commit time each week to Sabbath.
Dear Jesus. You are the Lord of the Sabbath. You have taught us how important it is to get away, rest, and spend time in prayer. Help us designate time each week to Sabbath and each day to prayer and devotion. Amen