#70: He Set Her Free

Luke 13:10–17

One Sabbath day as Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, he saw a woman who had been crippled by an evil spirit. She had been bent double for eighteen years and was unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Dear woman, you are healed of your sickness!” Then he touched her, and instantly she could stand straight. How she praised God!
But the leader in charge of the synagogue was indignant that Jesus had healed her on the Sabbath day. “There are six days of the week for working,” he said to the crowd. “Come on those days to be healed, not on the Sabbath.”
But the Lord replied, “You hypocrites! Each of you works on the Sabbath day! Don’t you untie your ox or your donkey from its stall on the Sabbath and lead it out for water? This dear woman, a daughter of Abraham, has been held in bondage by Satan for eighteen years. Isn’t it right that she be released, even on the Sabbath?”
This shamed his enemies, but all the people rejoiced at the wonderful things he did.

Another story about Jesus and women, and why not? It’s a story that is not told enough. All women, and men as well, need to get a big picture, blue sky image of Jesus’ amazing love for women.

A crippled woman is helped to walk by Jesus. We take the story for granted, ‘well of course Jesus helped this woman’, but that’s not how things worked out in Jesus’ day. Women were expected to put up with afflictions and men were expected to concentrate on other men. So for Jesus to be aware of and committed to such a woman is revolutionary, it has taken the Western World two thousand years to catch up with him.

  • His own mother at the cross
  • A prostitute caught in the act
  • A sick woman robbed by the doctors
  • A lonely woman who had had five husbands
  • A mother whose son had died

He understood and reached out to touch them all. Maybe he was the one man who has understood and given more to women than any other man.

Some time ago I was doing a women’s night as part of a mission. The home women had booked a smart hotel, organised great food, designed a great women’s quiz, brought in a D.J. and wanted me to speak about Jesus in a woman’s life. I first interviewed a couple of women. Then I talked about how I thought the key women in my life gave me more than I gave them. I spoke about Jesus as the ‘exceptional man’ who gave so much more to women gradually moving my words into a Power Point of Jesus pictures with music. Hearts were opened and tears flowed and there was laughter too as women who were givers discovered or re-discovered the man who gave them so much.

Maureen Gamble has had three main men in her life. Her Dad was Sam, her son is Phillip and I am Robin, her husband. All three of us have realised what a special woman she is and we have loved her as a daughter, a mother and a wife. But I have always been aware of her love for each of us being more generous, more positive and more ‘full of grace’ than ours for her.

There is of course, one truly great and special man in Maureen’s life. He sees her, calls her over and touches her. He is called Jesus. He is the one man who fully understands and is always, always fully there for her.

Looking out on the morning rain,
I used to feel so uninspired.
And when I knew I had to face another day,
Lord, it made me feel so tired.
Before the day I met you, life was so unkind,
But you’re the key to my peace of mind.

‘Cause you make me feel,
You make me feel,
You make me feel like,
A natural woman (woman).

When my soul was in the lost and found,
You came along to claim it.
I didn’t know just what was wrong with me,
‘Til your kiss helped me name it.
Now I’m no longer doubtful, of what I’m living for,
And if I make you happy I don’t need to do more.

‘Cause you make me feel,
You make me feel,
You make me feel like ,
A natural woman (woman).

– Aretha Franklin