She arrived at the Synagogue bent over and unable to straighten up. For eighteen years she had walked with her face toward the ground, unable to look up. Her name is not given and nothing is said about her family or friends. No details are given about how she made a living. Is there anything significant about this woman? The priest certainly had no regard for her. He was indignant when Jesus freed the woman of her suffering on the Sabbath. The priest would water his animals on the Sabbath but would not show compassion for a “daughter of Abraham” who Satan had bound (Luke 13:15-16). The law trumped compassion. The priest’s boundaries trumped compassion.
Sadly and unbelievably, some people today show more compassion for animals than other human beings.
Luke, a physician, said the woman had been “disabled by a spirit” (Luke 13:12). Her illness stemmed from a spiritual attack. Can you imagine the constant pain from her bent spine and the challenges of even light lifting and minor tasks?
Jesus took one look at the woman and the first words out of His mouth were, “Woman, you are free of your disability” (Luke 13:12). When Jesus touched the woman, she immediately straightened up and began glorifying God.
The woman in this story is a picture of all who are in spiritual bondage. Was she worthy of the compassion Jesus showed her? Did she deserve to be set free? Had she somehow earned the supernatural touch and gracious mercy of Jesus?
This is where will find good news in this story. Merit is not a prerequisite for compassion. Grace is receiving from Jesus what cannot be earned. Grace is receiving goodness and compassion that is not deserved. Grace is receiving compassion in spite of the boundaries others often place.
If this woman showed up at your church would compassion trump your boundaries? Is Jesus welcome to show His grace to those in bondage?
But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! (Romans 5:8).
For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9).