May 27, 2020, 2:18 PM
Our Lord Jesus was preaching in a synagogue as was His custom. From time to time He was invited to teach and preach in His capacity as Rabbi in some of the nearby synagogues: “... because He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the Law.” (Matthew 7:29) In the crowd was a woman who had been crippled by a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.” (Luke 13:11)
The forces of evil, the devil and his cohorts know only how ‘to steal and kill and destroy’. (John 10:10) They take great pleasure in inflicting pain and suffering on God’s children with no regard to the level of damage, humiliation and shame the person is put through. Jesus knew this and we know that “the reason He came was to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)
You will recall the man in the region of the Gadarenes who was inhabited by 6,000 demons, who could not be put under control. He displayed so much strength that he broke the chains with which he was held bound. It was after an encounter with Jesus that he was liberated from the demons that had made his body a dwelling place. “When he (the possessed man) saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of Him.” (Mark 5:6) Jesus drove the demons out of him. When the villagers came to the scene after this man’s deliverance “...they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind.” (Mark 5:15)
Imagine being bent down for such a long period of time, with all the constraints that that position brought for the woman. Her gaze was perpetually riveted to the ground. Yet no one bothered, because they could not help. Worst still no help was forthcoming. The Rabbis, the Pharisees and Scribes believed and strongly at that, that affliction was a result of the person’s sins. So her situation became desperate, with no help in sight.
Yet, this woman in this helpless and hopeless state had not given up on God. Despite her physical state, she strove to go to the synagogue to worship Jehovah. On that particular day, it happened that Jesus was there, at the helm of affairs. His spirit could not tolerate the ‘affliction’ borne by the woman without having to do something about it. What seemed normal to the people that surrounded her was an offence to the power of healing that God made available for His people. It revealed how wicked and ruthless the devil could be assailing the poor woman in this manner.
Now, this day fell on the Sabbath – the day set aside for Jews to worship Jehovah. She came to the synagogue most probably as part of her routine—not to receive her healing. Her infirmity was not an impediment to her worship of the Father either. When Jesus saw her, she invited her to come forward and He said to her. “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” (Luke 13: 12) Then with a touch of His hands, the woman “immediately straightened up and praised God.” (verse 13)
Put yourself in that woman’s place. What great joy! Jesus had restored her with just the touch of His hand. You would have thought that everyone around her would have rejoiced with her. But no, the Pharisees and Sadducees began to murmur. They accused the people of coming on the day of the Sabbath for healing when there were six other days in the week. The Sabbath was a day of rest.
Actually, the bone of contention the officials had was not with the people who gathered but they were indirectly pointing a hint at Jesus for conducting healing on the Sabbath. Jesus in his reaction called them hypocrites for finding time to water their animals on the Sabbath but frowning at a commendable gesture of healing a sick woman of her infirmity. In other words, Jesus was telling them that they had broken the Law and should have been pointing a finger at themselves rather than on this good deed.
It follows then that the authorities were equating the life of an animal with the life of a child of God. To have queried Jesus for acting the way He did over the state in which a daughter of Abraham had been bound was heartless. And so let us stop lamenting over our misfortunes with the false assumption that it is God’s will (ndogali Yalla). It cannot be God, for He wants us hale and hearty. God wants His Children to be healed and healthy.
Observe that it is Jesus who took the first steps in this encounter. On many instances, it is the people who ran to Him for help. This woman apparently was pleased with her situation for eighteen years, thinking it is ‘ndogali Yalla’. There are a lot of things we have become comfortable with; things that we consider normal when they are afflictions of the devil – that we have endured throughout our adult life.
We do all the wrong things – lying, cursing, smoking, cheating, consuming alcohol, committing adultery and fornication by succumbing to Satan’s diverse influences. Then we justify it because we have nursed these habits all these years and do not see that we are wronging God. The Word of God is true. God has not changed; what was despicable then is despicable now. God cannot be saying one thing and then another. God’s Word is flawless. Satan has blindfolded many to believe that God will tolerate sin in small doses because after all the sin that we practise will only hurt us. That is a lie from the pit of hell. Whether in the long or short run, slowly or on the spot, sin kills.
If the devil has got you bound for whatever period, this is the time to get yourself off the hook and be set free once and for all. It is time to ensure that your name is crossed out of his books. As sons and daughters of the Most High God, seek to have your name written in the Lambs Book of life.
The more we indulge, the deeper the fall and with every passing second, the stranglehold of the devil tightens. Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly – the eternal life. We are at the crossroads and in the end times where every minute counts.
Let us turn our hearts to God and Satan will vacate the premises his tail between his legs.