Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Broken Down and Hopeless
When the Word reads as it does in Luke 13:10, "Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath," we are alerted to the fact that something is about to happen. The gospel writer, Luke, tells many synagogue stories. After His baptism and the wilderness temptation experience, Jesus went to the synagogue of Nazareth for the inaugural sermon of His ministry. (4:1) In the synagogue at Capernaum, His teaching was interrupted by a screaming demon. (4:31) And there were many more synagogues besides these two. (4:44) On one of those occasions, He healed a man with a withered hand (6:6) and further on down the road in still another synagogue, He healed a woman who had been crippled for eighteen years. (13:10)
She was not the kind of person who would take the initiative. Eighteen years can really beat down a sufferer. It can take away hope and put in its place a conviction that life can never be any different or better. Not being able to look anyone in the eye only added to her loss of personal esteem. She had long ago decided she was useless and if she ever forgot, she only had to listen to the whispers of people around her or watch the mimicking taunts of children.
But, Jesus saw here differently. Jesus apparently had already started teaching when she arrived to slowly take her place. Even though her place was likely in the back of the room, Jesus immediately saw her and called her to come to Him. Surely, she must have felt the eyes of everyone as she directed her feet toward the sound of His voice. When that journey from back to front, a journey which seemed to take an eternity, finally ended, she heard healing words, felt powerful life giving hands, and then she stood up straight to look into the eyes of Jesus. It must have been like looking into the eyes of God! What a sight that must have been for this broken down, hopeless woman. And even though we may be broken down and hopeless, it can be the same way for us, too.