Woman, You are Set Free!

by LA UBF   03/11/2006     0 reads


Woman, you are set free

Woman, you are Set Free!

Luke 13:10-17

Key Verse 13:12


12When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity."

Today we would like to think about Jesus who came to set us free from our infirmities.


Part I, a woman crippled by a spirit

Look at verses 10-11. “On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.” 

One person I know owns a 1990 Lexus. Being a used car it had lots of problems. His wife kept asking him to get rid of it. But for some mysterious reasons the man still loves the car. Then about a month ago the car began to register a brand new problem: it heated up quickly. So, he took the car to a mechanic who knows everything about the car, for he used to fix its problems. The man then complained to the mechanic saying, “A couple months ago you put a new thermostat, a new radiator, and a new everything, and yet why does this car heat up so quickly?” Undaunted the mechanic said, “Well, a used car is a used car.  In case of a used car, a lot of things can go wrong. Maybe this time the engine gasket might have gone wrong.” The mechanic then showed the man his own Lexus parked on the parking lot and said, “Look, I bought this from one of my customers. It also had a heating problem. So I took out the engine and put in a rebuilt engine. It cost me about $1,000, and now it runs smoothly. The body is still okay. I can do the same thing to your car. What do you think?” Greatly embarrassed, the man took the car to another mechanic called “Carlos”. Carlos asked the man to leave the car at his shop. The next day Carlos called in saying, “The car is ready.” The man said, “What was the problem?” Carlos said, “The water level was too low, so I added more water.” The man asked, “Was that it?” The mechanic said, “Oh, yea.” The man asked, “What about the radiator? What about engine gasket? What about thermostat?” The mechanic said, “Oh, they are all fine.” “How much do I owe you?” the man asked. “$20” said Carlos. It happened exactly a week ago, and the car is still running alright. This time his wife did not say, “Throw it away.” 

This episode indicates that not all mechanics know what they are doing. But Jesus is different. He is the mechanic of all mechanics. He is the medical doctor of all medical doctors. Being the Creator God, Jesus knows exactly what is wrong with everyone. What was wrong with the woman? What was the diagnosis? Three things are noteworthy: No. 1, the generic term of the disease was “crippled”; No. 2, the cause of the disease was “a spirit”; and No. 3, the manifestation of the problem was “for 18 years she was bent over and could not straighten up at all.” 

When you think about it, lots of people suffer from being “crippled”, which is caused by the same cause, “a spirit”.  This results in the physical discomfort as serious as that of the woman, but they do not really know the real cause, much less the remedy for the disease. There are about 120 people seated in this room. And I know what each of you might be thinking: “Oh, I’m not crippled. I don’t have that kind of disease. I’m alright.” Oh, is that true? But listen to what the word “cripple” means. What is a cripple? According to Miriam Webster, “cripple” means “a) lame or partly disabled person or animal; b) one that is disabled or deficient in a specified manner <as in “a social cripple”>; and c) something flawed or imperfect.” So if you are partially disabled or deficient in one area or another, or flawed or imperfect, you are a cripple. Sorry, but it’s the truth. 

One friend of mine used to hold a high opinion of himself. From grade school to college, he graduated as an honor student. During his college days, by and large, he ditched school, and yet after preparing for a bar exam for about three months, he passed it. Then this man started thinking that he was a guy who is “kind of okay”. He did not know that he had lots of problems. The Lord had mercy on this man, so for the last five years the Lord sent him a number of people who all pointed out his repentance topics. Lately the Lord sent one of his close coworkers who said, “You think you are a god or something. But in my eyes you are flawed in many ways. I can see your problem very clearly, but you are blind to your problems.” But still the man did not admit his problem as fully as he should. But the Lord had a marvelous way to teach him that he too was a “cripple”.  This man loves to play the “Go” game. [The Go game is an Asian version of the Western Chess game played with stones in two colors “white” and “black”.] This man’s Go skill is about 3-dan. From the ends of the earth the Lord sent him a 5-dan opponent. The 5-dan player beat him again and again. Lately the 5-dan player made a way for the man to play the game against players even at the 9-dan level. Through this experience, finally the message got through his thick skull: he fully realized that he was a man who is full of mistakes. He does not think correctly all the time. His judgment is flawed in many ways. As a Christian technically he knew that he was a man with lots of weaknesses. But through practical failures in life he finally admitted that he was a man who is a true “cripple”, in the truest sense of the word “cripple.” And one of the 9-dan’s he played with said, “Who does not make mistakes? Everyone makes mistakes. And you learn to win by waiting for your opponents to make mistakes.” 

Now, let us think about the cause. A woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. This passage does not even say an “evil” or a “unclean” spirit. Simply it says “a spirit.” In verse 16 Jesus says that it was Satan who kept her bound for eighteen long years. Scientists may find it difficult to accept that it was a spirit (or Satan) that caused the woman to remain “crippled”. But it is what the Scriptures say. Thus we’d better think about a spirit causing a man or a woman to remain a cripple as a real possibility. 

Part II, woman, you are set free from your infirmity. 

How then did Jesus heal the woman?

Look at verses 12-13. “When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity." Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. 

First, Jesus saw her. 

This passage indicates that the way Jesus saw the woman was different from the way other people such as the synagogue ruler saw her. In the first place, a man like the synagogue ruler did not know what her real problem was. But when Jesus saw her, he saw not just her physical body particularly her crippled condition but her inner problem.  In this way, Jesus knows each of us. Physically Jesus is not with us. But he is still with people through His word working through the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 4:12-13 then says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” A lot of people say, “No one understands me.” But before complaining like this, the first thing we need to do is to read the Bible. Then one will understand how much God understands him or her. 

Second, Jesus called her forward and said to her.

We do not know how many people attended the worship service at the Synagogue where Jesus was teaching. Obviously there were a lot of people. But upon seeing her Jesus singled out the woman, asked her to come forward, and stand in front of the congregation. Then Jesus said to her. Why did Jesus do that? In my opinion, John 10:13 answers the question: “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” Here ‘by name’ is the same as “in person” or “one by one”. By calling her out and having her stand before him and people, Jesus let her focus her attention fully on him. Jesus also let her “expose” her problem fully before God and before men. Jesus then directed his attention toward her. He then spoke to her and her alone. From this example we learn that in order for each person to receive a healing touch of one’s infirmities, one must secure a personal moment with God where one can expose all of his or her shameful problems fully, asking for God’s help. 

What then did Jesus say to her? What voice of God did she hear from Jesus? “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Jesus could have driven out the spirit first saying, “You Satan give her a break.” But strangely this time Jesus did not say that. Rather Jesus said, “Woman you are set free from your infirmity.” One might think that before Jesus saying the words, he already might have driven out the spirit. But still the Bible is silent about this “exorcism.” Rather the Bible describes fully what Jesus said to the woman: “Woman you are set free from your infirmity.” The message for us to consider today then is that Jesus is the Son of God who came to speak His word to us. And it is through His word that he brings about healing. And the word for us to remember is: “Woman [or man] you are set free from your infirmity.” Notice the word “your”. Everyone has his or her own infirmities. And Jesus came to proclaim freedom from our infirmities. 

The message here is not just for the woman but for all who suffer from infirmities. Why? There are two reasons: first, when we see Jesus doing one thing for one person, we can tell that he can do the same thing to a million different people with the same problem. And in order to give hope to all who suffer from one infirmity or another, the Bible describes her problem in a generic term, “crippled” or “infirmity”. The second reason rests on the Scriptures that consistently testify that Jesus came to set all fallen men free from their infirmities. For example, Isaiah 53:4 says that he “took our infirmities”. 1Jo 3:8 says that Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil. Finally, in two places of the Bible we are told, “By his wounds we are healed” (or “you have been healed”) (Isaiah 53:5; 1Pe 2:24). 

This passage teaches us that through his death and resurrection, Jesus removed all the curses that fell upon men due to the sin of the first man Adam and the sins of all of his descendants.  The work Jesus fulfilled through his bodily death on a tree and resurrection thereafter is not just negatively removing the curses that fell on humanity but positively putting every believer back to a blessed position, as blessed as Adam was originally in before the Fall. Notice that this is a “done” deal. Speaking of the same truth, the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 1:3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”  He further says in Ephesians  2:6, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…” If you are not convinced of this blessed “status”, listen to what the recent daily Bible passage says, for through the mouth of a Gentile prophet named Balaam, the Lord God speaks of the spiritual “status” of every believer by saying in a series of oracles, “No misfortune is seen in Jacob, no misery observed in Israel. The Lord their God is with them; the shout of the King is among them. God brought them out of Egypt; they have the strength of a wild ox. There is no sorcery against Jacob, no divination against Israel." Particularly I like the part that reads, “no sorcery against Jacob, no divination against Israel.” Numbers 23:21-24 Not long after one missionary became a Christian, apparently one of his family members was concerned about the destiny of the missionary, so she sought consultation from a fortune teller. The fortune teller juggled her sticks and said, “No sorcery is found for the man.”  

As if this oracle is not enough, the Lord God spoke again through the mouth of Balaam, “"How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel! "Like valleys they spread out, like gardens beside a river, like aloes planted by the Lord, like cedars beside the waters. Water will flow from their buckets; their seed will have abundant water." Their king will be greater than Agag; their kingdom will be exalted. "God brought them out of Egypt; they have the strength of a wild ox. They devour hostile nations and break their bones in pieces; with their arrows they pierce them. Like a lion they crouch and lie down, like a lioness--who dares to rouse them? "May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed!" Numbers 24:5-9 (Genesis 12:1-4)

Scoffers might say, “Look. That is only about the Jews, not the Gentiles.” But, Balaam’s fourth oracle especially Numbers 24:17 indicates that the Gentile believers like most of you here, are more blessed than even what Balaam’s oracles are saying, for those who believe in Jesus Christ come directly under the blessing of the real Savior which the Old Testament Scriptures are referring to. 

Still, however, scoffers might say, “Oh, if you, a believer in Jesus Christ, are so blessed, why is it that you have so many problems? Why is it that unbelievers seem to have less number of problems than the believers?” Well, this is the place where we need to stop and think. Think what? We must think about the effect of what God really did for his children through Jesus. What did he do? We already know the answer. In Jesus he removed all the curses spelled out on fallen humanity, and put you a believer, back to a blessed position, as blessed as Adam before the Fall had originally been! Then what should we do with this blessed “status”? 

Again the answer is simple: We must deeply believe in what Jesus says today: “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” In studying this passage one missionary thanked God that the Lord God had already blessed him in a number of areas. But as he sat down and started praying he realized that in a million different areas, he is yet to accept this blessed “status” as his true reality. He realized that the greatness of the blessing the Lord God purchased for him is far greater and abundant than the waters in the Pacific Ocean, but thus far he tapped into the greatness of his blessed status only a tiny little bit just like a man merely dipping his feet into the shallow waters on the shores of Long Beach, never being bold enough to go fully into the Pacific Ocean like Christopher Columbus. So he knelt down and sincerely prayed to God that the Lord would strengthen him to go for the new found reality in the Lord fully. 

Today then, here is my suggestion: consider what Jesus has already accomplished for all people on earth about 2000 years ago. Then go back home, write down on a piece of paper or just in your mind’s notebook a list of all the infirmities. Then close the door behind you, and secure QT with the Lord. In your privacy, remove from your mind’s eyes, all the past memories and experiences you have had with unbelieving people. Envision the blessed status to which the Lord God has already exalted you. Develop a concrete vision of you in blessed status in the Lord, especially the freedom for which the Lord has already set you free, freedom from all kinds of disorderliness, addictions (not just addiction to substances but also to incorrect ways of thinking, undesirable habits, etc.). Then sincerely pray to gain complete release from all that has bound you. Then, the Lord will make this new reality become manifested in your life. One word: Woman, you are set free from your infirmity