Jump Start # 2953
Luke 13:12 “And when Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, ’Woman, you are freed from you sickness.’”
Our verse today takes place on a Saturday in a synagogue. The central feature here is a woman. A woman who was bent double. She had been this way for eighteen years. Let that time frame sink in. It wasn’t that she “threw her back out last weekend” moving. It wasn’t that she strained her back carrying a backpack this summer. Eighteen years. This problem came and it stayed. And, on this particular Saturday, Jesus heals her. She came bent, but she went home standing straight. He did what no one else could for eighteen years.
And out of this comes a few lessons for us.
First, as the text states, “…when Jesus saw her.” He saw her. He saw her like no else saw her. I expect she walked slowly. I expect people whispered about her. I expect people probably said, “What is she doing here?” I’m sure people noticed her, but only Jesus saw her. He saw something that no one else ever saw.
Right here there are some things we need to consider. How many in our congregations, or at work, or even in the family, that we notice, but we never really see. We don’t see that young mother doing all that she can to bring her kids to Bible class and worship. She might be a single mom. It might be that dad doesn’t come. But she does. Loaded with sippy cups, book bags, backpacks she comes. She might need an extra hand, but many won’t see that. She could sure be helped by a few extra dollars, but most won’t see that. She is noticed, but how many see her?
Or, here is a young man that comes to worship with one of the teens from church. This young man has tattoos. His hair has different colors. His clothes looks like they will fall off of him at any moment. No Bible in hand, he comes. Many notice. Many wonder why he is there. Many avoid. Will anyone see him? Will anyone recognize that he had enough courage and curiosity to come? Will anyone see that instead of sitting behind the church building smoking dope, or spay painting graffiti, he is sitting in the pews? Does any one see that?
Or, here is a senior citizen who comes with a walker. Slowly they move, much like the bent over woman in our passage. To start the day, they had to take a handful of medicine. It’s hard for them to get ready but they do the best they can. So many will notice this person, but how many will see him?
Jesus saw her.
Second, the story of our passage does not take place on the sea of Galilee. It does not take place in the wilderness. It’s in a synagogue. People came to synagogues to worship. They came to hear the reading of God’s word. And, there she is, bent over and all. She’s been this way for eighteen years. How many prayers has she prayed about her back. And, nothing. Another day. Another week. Another month. Another year. Another decade. Bent over. She prays and prays and yet she remains bent over. This has not soured her. This has not turned her against the Lord. This has not ruined her. We know that, because of where this story takes place. She’s come to worship God—bent over as she is. Prayers not answered favorably. Hope fading.
There was no indication in the text that she knew Jesus was there. She didn’t just show up because Jesus was there. I don’t think she knew. Had Jesus not been there, she still would have. She came to worship. What an incredible story. What a remarkable example. We get a sore toe and some of us are out for months. We don’t feel like it and we don’t go. Do you think she felt like it? She was bent double.
I believe this is what Jesus saw. It wasn’t just a bent over woman. He saw faith. He saw endurance. He saw longsuffering. He saw what many in the room never saw, conviction.
Third, what we often see with our eyes doesn’t tell the complete story. That’s true with Job. Job was never told about the conversation God had with Satan. Job didn’t know that God was using him as proof of fidelity, conviction and hope. And, it’s the same for us. Often, we do not know the whole story. We see someone bent over and we don’t see the faith in their heart. We see a teen who doesn’t seem to belong. We don’t see how that teen has struggled and has now turned to the Lord. We see that young mother, but we don’t see her prayers at night for strength or for the protection of her family. What we see rarely tells us the complete story.
We can come to conclusions and make judgments about people when we really do not know the story. What we saw wasn’t everything. Our quick comments, cutting under the breath judgments can be out of place and not even accurate. We may not know the story.
Jesus saw her…sure makes a person think, doesn’t it. Wish I had eyes like that.