The Woman who was Bent at a Right Angle


I remember the driveway to the farm house.   I was on a home visit to an elderly shut in.   I remember the woman who answered the door was bent forward 90 degrees.

I think of that woman when I read the story in Luke 13:10-17 which tells of Jesus teaching in synagogue one Sabbath.  “There was a woman with a disabling spirit for eighteen years.  She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself.” Jesus saw her over in the women’s section.  Right in the middle of the service, right in the middle of his teaching, he called her over to himself to where he was sitting with the men in the front of the synagogue.  When she came over he said, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.”

He laid his hands on her and “immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.”  Luke reports, “And all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him (Jesus).”  However, there was one who did not rejoice, he was indignant, that was the head of the synagogue who had invited Jesus to teach his people that day.   Jesus had to go and set a bad example.  He healed, he worked on the Sabbath.  The woman could have come Sunday through Friday if she wanted to be healed, but on the Lord’s day, on the day when God had expressly said “Six days you shall work and on the seventh rest?”  Had not God himself created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh?  Who does Jesus think he is?

That’s the question isn’t it?  Who does Jesus think he is?  Well, Jesus is the One whom God sent into this bent world to straighten it out, not with the law to make the world toe God’s line, but with the Gospel.  He was sent to do glorious things and to do the one inglorious thing on the cross so that all who believe in him can rejoice and glorify God.

The Prayer of the Day in ELW hymnbook is fitting:

O God, mighty and immortal, you know that as fragile creatures surrounded by great dangers, we cannot by ourselves stand upright.  Give us strength of mind and body, so that even when we suffer because of human sin, we may rise victorious through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

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