Miracle 28:
                                                  Healing of the Woman with the 18-Year Infirmity
                                               

I. OBSERVATION

A.     Passage Selected:

Luke 13:10-17

10And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. 12And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. 13And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. 14And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. 15The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? 16And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? 17And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him. [i]

B. Progression Stated: Logical

C. Presentation Summarized:

1. Context

Only Luke mentions this bent-over woman who had spent the previous eighteen years staring at the floor, unable to stand or sit, or even to straighten her crooked back. Jesus and His disciples had traveled through her city in Peraea on their way from Galilee to Judea. They entered the synagogue on the Sabbath to teach.

Jesus had deep compassion for this tragic woman. He touched her and healed her. When the ruler of the synagogue rebuked Jesus for the unlawful Sabbath healing, Jesus firmly exposed the inconsistency of those who would lead an ox to water on the Sabbath, yet oppose the healing of an afflicted woman.

How odd that Jesus refers to her as “a daughter of Abraham,” since such a description is usually reserved for the “sons” of Abraham. In front of all the upright religious folk, Jesus gave this humble woman a place of honor when He affirmed that she, too, belonged to the family of Abraham. After Jesus’ tender touch, for the first time in eighteen years, this “daughter of Abraham” straightened her back, stretched to her full height, and, among the sons of Abraham, who perhaps now hung their heads in shame, she held her head high to the glory of God. Nothing honors the Savior any more than a heart of gratitude and a spirit of praise.[ii]

§         Another Sabbath miracle.

§          

a. Revelation of the miracle  13:10-13

1.         Note the twofold problem and the twofold solution: Physical ailment caused by a demon. This woman had one of the worst cases of illness recorded in the Bible. She had a severe malady.

2.         The problem arose not because our Lord healed her, but because He healed her on the Sabbath day. The Lord healing people on the Sabbath day was a recurring source of contention between Himself and the religious rulers.

3.          This woman had a spirit of infirmity that had plagued her for eighteen years. It is difficult to translate into English the terminology that Dr. Luke uses to describe her condition. They are medical terms. Her illness was chronic.

4.          Because of it she was bowed down or, as Weymouth translates it, “bent double.” This poor woman could not lift herself up. Here was a woman in a desperate condition. She was an unfortunate wretch who was an object of pity.

5.          This was probably one of the most terrible cases of physical infirmity that the Lord dealt with on earth. [iii]

b. Response to the miracle  13:14

1.       It is hard to believe the comment of the synagogue officials. Surely no one could be this calloused.

c. Rebuke of the miracle  13:15-17

1.       He rebukes their hypocrisy and of their mixed up value system.

2.       They would release their ox.  Jesus released the woman from what bound her (Satan).  I think Satan was not the only thing that was binding.  The religious leaders were too.

3.       I must confess that I do not understand why this woman had been bound by Satan. She apparently was not an immoral person, as she was a regular attendant at the synagogue even in her condition. It was in the synagogue that the Great Physician said to her, “Be loosed.” He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight and glorified God.

4.       His touch upon her was not essential but was an aid to her faith. It was personal contact. And personal contact with Him is the important thing for us also. The perfect tense of the verb loosed stresses the completeness of the cure.[iv]

5.       The ruler of the synagogue rebuked her sharply—yet this woman had not come to the synagogue with any intention of being healed.

6.       The reaction of the religious ruler was strange indeed. He was more interested in the rule than he was in the fact that a poor woman, who had been shackled for eighteen years with a grievous infirmity, had been freed.

7.       The Sabbath question was the most important issue to these religious rulers. Yet Sabbath prohibitions had become a burden too great to be borne.

8.       Jesus makes His point well. But there remains in every generation the temptation for traditions and programs to take priority over the needs of people.[v]

9.       The Sabbath question is still one of heated debate today. The important thing is not to argue about religion, but to learn to live it.[vi]

10.   The people, though they heard Him gladly, seemed to go no farther with Him. It is possible to become so religious and callous that you can exclude Jesus from your life too. You may know all the answers and be an expert in argument, but the real question is, “Have you ever let Christ into your heart?”

11.   There is no substitute for that. Are you filled with doubts? Are you puzzled or troubled? Are you bent double with the burdens of life? Then come to the Lord Jesus Christ with your burdens and sins. You can come to Him anytime. He is ready and waiting to meet your need.[vii]

II. INTERPRETATION

·         Jesus demonstrates the hypocrisy of Israel’s leadership for perverting the Sabbath and having no compassion for people. The Sabbath was made for the benefit of man, not for bondage.  The Sabbath was a sign of the mosaic covenant (the law).  What God did in the law was make provision for men by sacrificing animals.  They had taken the animals and made them more important than humanity.  They not only had missed the Sabbath, they had missed the very point of the law.

·         THE DEFINITION OF HYPOCRISY

hupokrites (5273), corresponding to the above, primarily denotes “one who answers”; then, “a stage-actor”; it was a custom for Greek and Roman actors to speak in large masks with mechanical while they read a script. They used devices for augmenting the force of the voice; hence the word became used metaphorically of “a dissembler, a hypocrite.”  [viii]

·         THE NATURE OF HYPOCRISY

1.       Since we are all naturally prone to hypocrisy, any empty semblance of righteousness is quite enough to satisfy us instead of righteousness itself. [ix]

2.       It is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself.

3.       For (such is our innate pride) we always seem to ourselves just, and upright, and wise, and holy, until we are convinced, by clear evidence, of our injustice, vileness, folly, and impurity. Convinced, however, we are not, if we look to ourselves only, and not to the Lord also—He being the only standard by the application of which this conviction can be produced.

 

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HYPOCRISY

Insincere repentance, Exodus 9:27.

Deceived hearts, Deuteronomy 11:16

Feigned rapport in time of need, Judges 11:1–10.

Doing right with limitations, 2 Chronicles 25:2.

Accused of hypocrisy, Job 4:1–3; 11:4–6.

Undependable friends, Job 6:15–17.

Unable to fool God, Job 13:9.

Condemned by one’s own words, Job 15:6.

Boasting of giving while withholding, Job 25:14.

“Consort with hypocrites,” Psalm 26:4

Hypocritical cordiality, Psalm 28:3.

Motives different from speech, Psalms 55:21; 62:4.

Hypocritical prayers incite God’s anger, Psalm 80:4.

Prayer counted as sin, Psalm 109:7 .

Double-minded men, Psalm 119:113.

Hateful thoughts, smooth talk, Proverbs 26:23

Disguising true self by false speech, Proverbs 26:24–26.

Sincere, insincere rapport, Proverbs 27:6.

Early morning religiosity, Proverbs 27:14.

Detestable prayers of lawbreakers, Proverbs 28:9.

Surprised hypocrites, Isaiah 33:14

Meaningless oaths, Isaiah 48:1–2.

Hypocritical piety, Isaiah 58:1–2

Mockery fasting, Isaiah 58:4–5.

Holier than thou, Isaiah 65:4–5

Dishonest statement, Jeremiah 5:1–2

Flagrant hypocrisy, Jeremiah 7:9–11.

Hypocritical rapport, Jeremiah 12:6.

Threat to hypocrisy, Ezekiel 14:4.

Scorned for hypocrisy, Ezekiel 16:56–57.

Listening, not practicing, Ezekiel 33:31.

Boasting hypocrite, Hosea 12:8.

God’s blessing misused, Hosea 13:6.

Boasting of hypocrisy, Amos 4:4–5.

Witnessing hypocrite, Jonah 1:9.

Hypocrite leaders, priests, Micah 3:11.

Worshiping the Lord, Molech, Zephaniah 1:5.

Defiled offerings from defiled people, Haggai 2:13–14.

Hypocritical fasting, repentance, Zechariah 7:1–6.

Repenting hypocrites, Malachi 2:13.

King Herod and the Magi, Matthew 2:7–8, 13.

Satan’s use of Scripture, Matthew 4:1–11.

Righteousness of the Pharisees, Matthew 5:20.

Performing righteousness in public, Matthew 6:1.

Hypocrisy paid in full, Matthew 6:5

Avoid hyper-piety, Matthew 6:16–18.

Hypocrite’s plea, Matthew 7:21–23

Hypocrisy of Pharisees, Matthew 15:7–9; 21:31–32; 23:1–3; Luke 11:45–54.

Seeking mercy while mistreating another, Matthew 18:23–35.

Man without wedding clothes, Matthew 22:11–13.

Clean outside, filthy inside, Matthew 23:25–28.

Hypocrisy akin to murder, Matthew 23:29–32.

Faithful, unfaithful service, Matthew 24:45–51.

Lip service, Mark 7:6.

Hypocrite miracles, Mark 9:38–41.

Practice what you preach, Luke 3:7–8.

“Play actors,” Luke 12:56

Identification of hypocrite, Luke 13:23–27.

Hypocritical honesty, Luke 20:20.

Hypocrite’s praise, John 5:41–42.

Hypocrisy syndrome, John 7:19

Devious search for salvation, John 10:1.

Hypocrite’s judging others, Romans 2:1.

Saying one thing, doing another, Romans 2:21–24.

Those who cause divisions, Romans 16:17–18.

Christians in name only, Galatians 2:4

Social hypocrisy, Galatians 2:11–13.

Insincere attention, Galatians 4:17.

Hypocritical pretense, Galatians 6:12–15.

False humility, Colossians 2:18.

Hypocrite liars, 1 Timothy 4:2

Hypocritical godliness, 2 Timothy 3:5.

Unbridled tongue, James 1:26.

“Without hypocrisy,” James 3:17

Profession versus  Possession, Titus 1:16; 1 John 2:4–6; Jude 12–13.

Walking in darkness, 1 John 1:5–7.

Disruptive hypocrite, 3 John 9–10.

Misuse of Christian liberty, Jude 4.

Feigning life when spiritually dead, Revelation 3:1.[x]

III. APPLICATIONS

·         Humanity is more important than animals. I can’t help but think about our animal rights activists who put the existence of a salamander, a fish or a bird over the welfare of people. And recently we’ve heard several news stories about people keeping pit bulldogs and bobcats in a residential neighborhood and these animals severely injuring people.

·         Hypocrisy and lack of compassion is the result of and evidence of an unrighteous religious system.