Our Liberation Shall Surely Come
Today’s passage focuses on a woman healed of a “disabling spirit” in which she was “bent over and could not fully straighten herself.” We do not read that she went to the synagogue for the purpose of being healed. It seems that she was merely in attendance and Jesus saw her and called her over and healed her. Moreover, she had been this way for eighteen years. It is truly a marvelous picture of our Lord’s care and concern for human suffering. And she immediately glorified God for being “freed from her disability.” But such is human pettiness that the ruler of the synagogue took offense at our Lord’s display of compassion on the Sabbath day, breaking what he thought was a mandate from the Mosaic Law – which it was not – that no one should be healed on that day as such constituted work. Our Lord quickly dispensed with such a twisted interpretation of his commandments and noted the hypocrisy of placing animals above people, untying an ox or a donkey on the Sabbath day for watering while complaining about loosing a “daughter of Abraham” from Satan’s bonds on the same day. God has called us to greater matters than quibbling over such niceties, namely the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is about releasing people from the bonds of Satan, and rejoicing over the liberty that such breaking of chains brings.
And so it is after this event that our Lord then begins to describe the Kingdom of God to us. In this case, a poor woman was suddenly healed of a long-lasting infirmity, but the Kingdom of God doesn’t ordinarily work this way. This woman’s freedom is only one hard won battle against Satan and his dominion, for the Kingdom grows slowly and is not easily perceived. It begins small, perhaps with the slow prodding of the teacher in a preschool Sunday School class, where one wonders if a seed has been planted at all amid the chaos. But years later we see the fully-grown man or woman of God ready to take their place in the Kingdom. Perhaps it begins with the sudden regeneration of the drug addict, but who wins the battle against addiction only after years of struggle that brought him to his knees on so many occasions. Human sin is such that it is not easily overcome in this life, but overcome it will be, and God’s people shall be released.
We have need of patience in this life. We know how it all ends, but we often grow weary with the struggle. This woman was bound eighteen years with her disability. But the day came in which she experienced God’s liberation in an instant. We too are being delivered and await our complete liberation which shall surely come (1 John 3:2-3).