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LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke


16. The Healing of the Crippled Woman (Luke 13:10-17)

LUKE 13:10-17
10 Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. 12 But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” 13 And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. 14 But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? 16 So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound -- think of it -- for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” 17 And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.

The evangelist Luke shows us how Jesus served his people on his journey to Jerusalem, according to the parable of the fig tree and the vineyard-keeper. He dug, cultivated, and blessed hearts to save them from the coming condemnation of God. He also helped the poor and those who were going astray. Do you feel for the sick, suffer with them, and wish them restoration to health? Jesus was full of compassion toward the woman who had been bent over for eighteen years and could not straighten up. Eighteen years is a long time: it exceeds 7500 days filled with suffering, pain, and despair. In spite of that, the poor woman went to the synagogue, because she found comfort only from God. Though she was unable to lift up her head, she lifted up her heart to her merciful Lord.

Jesus came. He heard the cry of faith from the suffering heart, and perceived her hardship in her features. So he called her, and assured, her cure of her infirmity. That was in the midst of the crowds at prayer. She was some distance from him in a corner of the church. Yet her heart did not immediately grasp the word of God, for she was bound by her infirmity. She might have once resorted to a diviner, and her body was bound by the destructive dominion of Satan. Jesus called her to him, and put his creative hands on the poor crooked woman, whose back immediately became straight, and her muscles regained strength. Then she lifted up her head and stood erect, for the power of God forgave all her sins, and loosed her from the bonds of the evil spirit, and she was cured in body, soul, and spirit. This deep change was a victory for Christ, for the redeemed woman magnified God in public, and her heart flowed over with praise, because all her bodily pains and mental stress disappeared.

The ruler of the synagogue reacted angrily, without pity or sympathy for the woman. He understood and kept the law literally. Accordingly he forbade most work on the Sabbath, to satisfy those who worship God by keeping commandments and regulations. Through such worship he and his congregation lacked love, for they thought only of themselves, and considered the selfish security of their own salvation. So they became inactive and dull in their hard spirit, embracing the formalities and superficialities of the law. They were prepared to sacrifice anyone for their principles’ sake. The law became an idol, and not a servant to men. In spite of that, they were hypocrites who allowed some hard work on the Sabbath, fed and watered their animals. That was just, but although they allowed service to animals they prohibited it to men. Consequently, they considered their animals more essential and useful than man. This is why Christ called them “hypocrites.”

Even today, some peasants consider their fields more important than their household. Many fathers spend more money on their cars than they spend on their children. We can see merchants working long hours in their shops without caring for their families. Many employees waste their free time amusing themselves in cafes. They do not bring up their children up with good training and instruction, nor do they spend any time to look after their neighbors who need their advice.

However, Christ showed the Jews that men are more important than animals, especially that they are descents of Abraham, made in God’s image. Likewise, Christ says to you too: “All your schoolmates and fellow workers are more important than your diplomas, or your bank account. Your aim in life is not to be your personal success, but love for your poor brother man whom you meet today. Christ calls those who pray hypocrites, if they do not truly love relatives and neighbors. So think of your friends, look after your brothers, and serve your parents. Feel with them, help them in practical ways, and pray fervently for them that the Lord’s blessing may dwell in them. If you pretend godliness before men, and do not truly serve them, then God will call you a hypocrite bound by the chains of Satan, who must be loosed from repulsive selfishness.

PRAYER: O Lord of love, I confess that my heart is cold, because I think first of my work, my ambitions, and myself. Please forgive my selfishness. Thank you for you loose us from the bonds of Satan, and consecrate us to show sympathy and dedicate us to serve joyfully and pray constantly. Bless my friends, neighbors, and relatives that they may become free from the bonds of Satan, and rejoice in the experience of your power.

QUESTION 92: Why did Jesus call the ruler of the synagogue “hypocrite”?


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