Pondering Faith

Jesus Heals a Crippled Church: Luke 13:10-17

Luke 13:10-17 10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” 13 When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14 But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” 15 But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” 17 When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

These are my reflections on this passage.

On being at church:

  • Jesus was at the synagogue, teaching on the Sabbath. Of course he was! Even at a young age, his parents learned that was the first place they should look if He was missing.  What about today? Do we expect to see Jesus when we come church? Sometimes I think we get stuck expecting to sing, hear a message, and hang out with friends, but we forget to expect to meet Jesus there.
  • The crippled woman was at the synagogue.  Folks are great at coming up with excuses to miss church: I’ve got company coming tonight.  Kickoff is at 11:30. My fishing calendar says they’re biting this morning. There’s a sale at the mall. I’ve got a test on Monday that I have to study for. I had a little too much fun Saturday night. But, if the crippled lady can get there, I can, too.
  • The church leaders were at the synagogue. That’s always good for a little controversy. You would think that it would be good for church leaders to be at church, but there they were, trying to keep Jesus from doing His work.  That makes me think… I’m a church leader. Do I ever get in the way of Jesus doing things? I am sure that I do. When I try to do things the way that I want instead of the way that God wants, then I am sure to mess it up, even though I might have the best of intentions.

The Crippled Church

  • In this story, I think the church was crippled, too. A church that hinders the work of Jesus is a crippled church. By reinterpreting the law, Jesus was able to free the church so that it could set people free on the Sabbath. So, this story is a double healing. Jesus freed both the woman and the church from being crippled.
    • Are there things that cripple a church today:
      • Structures or rules that hinder ministry
      • Budgetary restrictions
      • Negative attitudes
      • laziness – inviting more people to serve and use their gifts
      • Being content and/or comfortable
    • The Good News is that Jesus can heal the things that hinder the church, if we just turn it over to Him and put him at the center. In the Gospels, we see Jesus transforming the religious institution with Holy insight. It’s a process that He continues today. Just like in Biblical times, though, we must be open to self reflection and critique so that as Jesus calls us to correction, we may listen and obey, and even rejoice at the healing Jesus brings to the church.

Dan

Welcome to Pondering Faith! My name is Dan. I am a husband, father, and pastor. I serve as the Director of Church Development for the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. This is the place where I ponder all things related to faith, including church leadership, and life in general.

1 comment

  • I keep telling myself today is not the right day, I am still trying to carry on my business.. Maybe tomorow I will be able to follow you lord and receive my healing.. I am that crippled church.