Sermons

Summary: What binds you? What binds me? What prevents us from standing up straight in a spiritual sense? What is holding us back from being transformed into the image of Christ? What is holding us back from being able to enjoy life fully?

On the night of December 16th 1773 .... a small group of men banded together, ...... boarded three merchant ships in Boston Harbor ...... and dumped 342 chests of tea into the bay.

This group of men, .... who called themselves the Sons of Liberty, ...... took this action .... because of the taxing policies of the English Government.

But, only when we look at this act in Boston Harbor against the backdrop of the big picture .... will we see it's true significance.

The 'Boston Tea Party' was not just an isolated incident; ....

Rather, .... it was one of the first acts.... of what became known as ...... the American War of Independence.

We can only see the meaning and significance of this individual act .... in light of .... the bigger picture. (Pause)

We also need to see the story in today's Gospel .... in the same light.... In the light of the bigger picture.

What is this Gospel story telling us?

What is the Big Picture behind this story?

If we look at the small picture, .... We see an act of love and grace in which ... Jesus healed a woman.

A woman who had suffered for eighteen years .... from some form of the curvature of the spine.

In itself .... this is wonderful enough.

But Luke is inviting us to also see this event in terms of .... the big picture.

This is not just an isolated act of healing; ......

Rather, it is one of many victories .... in Jesus' war of liberation ... against the forces of evil.

Jesus invites us to see this woman's illness .... against the backdrop .... of a larger picture;

The picture of Satan's work ... of binding ... the human race.

He invites us to see the healing of this woman ... as a sign of how the Kingdom of God works.

A work ... to transform the world .... A work to set people free from bondage.

As we remind ourselves of this story, .... keep the bigger picture .... This larger picture in mind. (Pause)

Now... While Jesus is teaching in the synagogue...... He would be sitting at the front .... sharing a message.

And close beside him ... would be the ruler of the synagogue.

An elder .... who was responsible for ensuring ... that the teaching ... was sound ... and orthodox.

As Jesus is teaching, .... a woman appears; ...... she is bent over ... and unable to straighten up.

We can assume that this is a small community ...... and that the woman is known .... to the people in the village.

And They would have known ... that she has struggled with this ailment .... for eighteen years.

Now.... Luke, who was a physician, ......describes her symptoms for us .... in some detail.

Yet he also attributes the ailment to a deeper cause; .... Luke states ....... she was a woman with quote .... 'a spirit that had crippled her' (Luke 13:11).

Jesus stops in the middle of his message ... and calls her to the front.

He speaks words of freedom to her, .... lays his hands on her.

And immediately, ...... for the first time in eighteen years, .... she is able ... to straighten up ... and look straight into ... another person's face.

The ruler of the synagogue immediately challenges Jesus.

The elder firmly states ...." There are six days in which you can heal people .... come and be healed on those days, .... not on the Sabbath!" (Luke 13:14)

Jesus recognizes in the ruler's words .... Which are an allusion to the book of Deuteronomy, which state BIBLE 'For six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day ... is a Sabbath to the LORD your God; ... you shall not do any work -- you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey...' END (Deuteronomy 5:13-14)

So in his reply to the ruler of the synagogue, .... Jesus points out that the text does Not just forbid work by ... humans; .......

Oxen and donkeys ... are also forbidden ... to work on the Sabbath!

However, .... there is not a man in the synagogue ... who would think twice about setting his ox or his donkey free from bondage ... on the Sabbath!

So why then should he, ... Jesus, not set this woman free from Satan's bondage?

That is the close up view.

Now let us step back ... and look at ... the big picture.

Doctor Luke describes the woman's symptoms in detail.

She 'was bent over and she was quite unable to stand up straight'

However, .... Luke seems to be more interested in the cause of her illness; ...... he states that she had 'a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years'

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