I greet all who view this blog in the flawless name of Jesus Christ. There are countless topics that flood the news on a daily basis that impact Christian families and the church. Hence, we should be alert, but not anxious, spiritually proactive and not reactive. I pray that this blog will inform, challenge, and encourage you not to merely go through life, but to live it and live it victoriously.
– Pastor Muhammad
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.
Within this passage we discover an unnamed woman who had been living with an infirmity for eighteen years. The scripture tells us that she was physically bent over and could not stand erect. But what is really interesting to note is how Christ perceived her. Jesus discerned that she was suffering with a “spirit of infirmity” which kept her bowed, looking down. I can only imagine the considerable impact this had to have on her self-worth, along with the value that others placed on her, as well as her overall outlook on life – for her body was bent, and her spirit was broken.
The spiritual ordeal manifested itself physically in this woman. What I love about Christ is that He saw beyond the physical and began to speak and minister to her spirit. Oft times in church, we focus on the physical appearance of a person and fail to recognize a broken spirit. Easily we assume that all’s well because there are no physical indicators that something is wrong, OR, we may witness an outward abnormality but unsuccessfully detect a spiritual ailment. We are being called to love and care enough for our brothers and sisters to see beyond what eyes can see.
There are many contributing factors that could cause a person to have a broken spirit: an abusive childhood (be it physical, verbal, and/or sexual), condescending parents, a lack of love and encouragement, just to name a few. The good news is that the remedy for a broken spirit resides in the redeeming power of Christ.
What’s sad to say is that when I read this passage of scripture, it looked a lot like the church of today. Carrying on faithfully in religious practices while not connecting spiritually with one another. Meeting the needs of the disenfranchised and the brokenhearted ought to be the primary mission of the church, but quite often we miss the mark. David said it best in Psalm 147:3 where he wrote, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”. This verse is indicative of what we should allow the Holy Spirit to do through us, to move past ourselves and minister to those that are hurting and desperate for healing.
For eighteen years this woman was bound by a spirit of infirmity, being stuck in one position, unable to look up. Because she endured this crippling posture for so long, it compelled others to look down on her physically, and perhaps figuratively, as they could stand tall, towering over her, and she could not of her own volition. They grew accustomed to seeing her in that condition; they were content with seeing her standing crooked instead of realizing her potential and rendering an encouraging word or helping hand.
Quite honestly, all of us have been bent or broken at some point in our lives and it was through Christ that God alone straightened us out and mended the broken pieces. This woman was held in verse eleven for eighteen years, as the verse declares, “she could in no way lift herself”, but then there was JESUS. He called her to Him and spoke to her broken spirit and straightway (immediately) she was healed.
This is my question to the church: Where are WE in the healing process? Are we too busy looking down on the bent and the broken? Are we the naysayers, with our own personal agendas hoping that Jesus doesn’t show up and show us up (verses 14, 15)? Jesus is never guilty of making excuses for or rationalizing the woman’s condition, instead, He calls out that spirit of infirmity and heals her. It is His desire to make things that are bent and broken, straight and whole.
An important takeaway here is how she responded after being healed in verse thirteen. Scripture says that she “glorified God”. So if we, the church, are insensitive to the Holy Spirit and fail to assist in the healing process, we are potentially hindering people from their deliverance, and more importantly, we are standing in the way of God receiving His glory. That’s a very dangerous position to be in. What’s your position, assisting or resisting?