Healing Man’s Inability to Stand in Righteousness
“And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity” (Luke 13:11).
by David Christiansen
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It was the Sabbath and we find Jesus teaching in the synagogue. Luke 13:1 (NLT) says, “About this time Jesus was informed
that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were sacrificing at the Temple in Jerusalem.” This would have been a harrowing experience for the Jews that witnessed the aberration, and they looked to Jesus to help them make sense of it.
Jesus used the opportunity to teach those devout Jews lessons that they would most likely not have gotten on their own. He asked the Galileans some unexpected questions. This can be a very effective teaching technique.
In Luke 13:2 (NLT) Jesus said, “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than other people from Galilee? … Is that why they
suffered?” Asking that question suggests that the Jews assumed that Pilate’s murder of the Galileans happened because they were being punished by God for sins they had committed.
However, Jesus’ point was: just because those Galilean Jews were murdered while worshiping and sacrificing, did not mean that they were being punished by God for some reason.
This was similar to Job’s experience. Job was a devout person who loved God. Nevertheless, God allowed Job to be tested
by Satan. Satan alleged that the only reason Job worshipped God was because he was blessed with family and riches. God allowed Satan to take everything away from Job, including his possessions and even his children. However, Job did not disavow God even though Job’s wife and some of his friends encouraged him to curse God. God letting Job endure agony
for a time did not mean that Job had done something wrong and was being punished for it. The reality was just the opposite. With that in mind, we turn our attention back to Jesus in the synagogue.
The Woman Crippled with Infirmity
Luke 13:10-17 describes one of Jesus’ more touching miracles. While teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath, Jesus noticed a woman who “had a spirit of infirmity.” “There was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself” (verse 11). Jesus immediately had compassion for this woman.
This disease is still around today and is closely related to other maladies such as Parkinson’s disease and scoliosis. The name used today is, Bent Spine Syndrome (BSS). Pain is often associated with the disease. Jesus knew exactly what was going on with this woman’s disease, its symptoms, and how much pain she had endured during her eighteen years with BSS. No wonder she caught his attention.
Jesus did not waste time in showing his compassion. As soon as he saw her in the synagogue, he called her to him, and said “‘Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.’ And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God” (Luke 13:12,13). We can imagine an incredibly
joyful scene as this woman glorified God. Eighteen years
of suffering suddenly and wholly ended.
There are some lessons for us in this story. First, Jesus spotted this woman while he was teaching in the synagogue. Jesus saw that helping this one woman would teach a greater lesson to the group than his words might have. The timing of this event was perfect. Our Heavenly Father arranged for the service
in the synagogue to be interrupted, as the whole congregation witnessed this miracle. Jesus did not even wait until his sermon was finished. Instead, he called the woman to him and said, “Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. Then he laid his
hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.”
Jesus did not say to her, “take these prescriptions three times a day and see me in my office in a week, and we will see if things have improved.” No, “he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.” In the time it took
the woman to walk to Jesus and him to put his hands on her, she was completely healed from her malady. Jesus had cured the woman on the spot. He had been given, by God, total
power over all flesh, and he cured many people of their ills. We can imagine that many in that synagogue followed Jesus subsequently.
Jesus cured the woman of her disease, but afterwards, she glorified Jehovah God, even though it was Jesus who laid his hands on her and healed her. The story would seem to make
better sense if the woman would have rejoiced and praised Jesus for healing her. But, that is not what happened. Instead, Jesus was all but ignored in this time of glorifying God.
The Jews in that day would not even consider praising anyone except Jehovah God. In addition, Jesus lived a life of giving all glory to God. As Old Testament accounts were passed from
generation to generation, the Israelites would have learned about miracles done by the prophets through God’s power. They would have understood that healing power came from God.
There were other times when this scenario of a healed person praising God occurred. In Acts 3, Peter and John were walking to the Temple. On their way, they encountered a man who had
been lame from birth. Verse 3 says, “When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms” (NAS). What happened next was totally unexpected.
While the lame man was hoping for alms, Peter responded in verses 6-7 (NAS), “‘I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene
— walk!’ And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened.” These two incidents are similar. In each case the infirm had physical contact with the healer. Jesus laid his hands on the woman. Peter seized the right hand of the lame man and pulled him up. Both persons who were healed gave the glory to God (Acts 3:8, Luke 13:13).
The Woman as a Picture
Incidents like these in the Scriptures typically point to something higher. The story of the woman could easily picture the world of mankind. The woman had been able to stand upright through her young life. Later, she contracted this infirmity, and was unable to stand without bending. Ecclesiastes 7:29 (NIV) says that “God made mankind upright” — upright
physically, morally, and spiritually. Once Adam and Eve sinned and were removed from the garden, things started to change. They began to be “bent over” from the weight of sin and its
consequences, lasting over 6,000 years.
This time of being bent over is also referred to as darkness, not literal but spiritual darkness. Darkness covers the earth even now (Isaiah 60:2). This darkness is mentioned in Ephesians
5:8, “Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.” This makes perfect sense when we read 2 Corinthians 4:4, “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Looking back at history since Adam was ousted from Eden, it is not hard to see that the god of this world is Satan (Ephesians 2:2).
Through the ages, Satan has unrelentingly tried to usurp the position of God. Isaiah 14:14 says, “I [Lucifer] will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.” And, to a point, God has allowed Satan quite a bit of leeway as he has tried to dethrone Jehovah God. Satan was allowed by God to inflict a disease on the woman who was “crippled with infirmity.” Luke 13:16 confirms this, “whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years.”
God allowed Adam and Eve to be tempted by Satan in the Garden. Adam and Eve failed this test of obedience miserably by eating the fruit of “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”
(Genesis 2:9,17, 3:1-6). In the Garden of Eden there was no sickness or disease. Adam and Eve were created as perfect human beings. However, they were not created immortal beings and were subject to the penalty of death when they willfully sinned.
After the pair was removed from the garden, various diseases crept into their lives. Some of the diseases, as we have seen with the woman’s situation, can be directly attributed to Satan.
Ecclesiastes 7:29 says, “but they have sought out many inventions.” “Inventions is translated from the Hebrew word chishshabown which means “a contrivance.” This word is often used to describe military machines. One of the ways mankind has sought to resolve their difficulties is through military might, rather than through love and understanding. Mankind has depended on their own wisdom to fix their problems and has seen their problems only continue to get worse. This is the same as with the woman. She “could in no wise lift up herself” (Luke
13:11). The clear implication is that the woman had tried to lift herself up but could not.
Romans 8:22-23 says, “The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit.” Even
though this woman did not ask Jesus to heal her, Jesus called her to him, and she responded. Once healed, she was able to stand upright.
In the same way, mankind will be called to Jesus. “The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28,29). The word “damnation” is a misleading translation of the Greek word krisis
which, according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, means “(1) a separating, sundering, separation. (1a) a trial, contest.” Krisis describes a trial period, not a final condemnation. Jesus is
speaking of the thousand-year judgment period of his earthly kingdom. Those who overcome their sins and weaknesses during this kingdom will be granted eternal life. Those who do not overcome will be cut off in the second death (Matthew 25:31-46, Revelation 20:11-15).
Everyone who has ever lived will be resurrected and healed without having to ask for it. Acts 24:15 says, “There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” Why will evil, sinful people come forth in the resurrection? Isaiah answers, “With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9). Christ’s kingdom will not be a time for maliciously burning sinners, but a time to teach them God’s righteousness so they can gain everlasting life. God loves His creation even though they are estranged from Him by Adam’s sin.
Satan will be bound for this 1,000 year judgment period, and be unable to deceive mankind during this time (Revelation 20:3).
There will be a lot to learn, but it will be much easier with Satan not able to interfere. Mankind will learn to become morally and spiritually upright, once this nighttime of sin and death is over (Psalm 30:5). “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” facilitating this teaching process (Isaiah 11:9). As a result, “they [mankind] shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).
When Jesus healed the woman, she did not have to do anything (but come) to be healed. This is in contrast to some of Jesus’ other miracles, such as the blind beggar at the pool of Siloam where there were a series of things that Jesus asked the blind man to do. Jesus’ healing of the woman can be likened to the world of mankind when they will have the curse of sin and death, brought on by Adam’s sin, removed without having to do anything.
Just as the woman praised God after being healed, mankind, as they are resurrected and healed from their physical, mental, spiritual, and moral diseases, will praise God forever. We can almost hear all mankind praising God for His mercy and love towards the whole human race, as we draw closer to the judgment day.
For six thousand years mankind has been powerless to overcome Satan. In the kingdom, everyone who has ever lived will hear the voice of the Lord calling them. They shall come forth from their graves to spend eternity in a perfect spiritual, physical, and moral environment if they obey God’s righteous laws. For the first time, mankind will stand before our Heavenly
Father in righteousness and praise Him forever.
This article opened with the words, “To Heal or Not to Heal?” That is the question. But in fact, there is no question because God has a plan that will heal all mankind and give each person a thousand years without Satan’s influence or interference to learn about God, His righteousness, and His love for His human creation. Every man, woman, and child in Christ’s kingdom who takes Jesus’ hand as did the woman, and stands up straight by learning and becoming obedient to God’s righteous laws, will live forever.