Summary: To show that modern thinking distorts the biblical message and does Satan’s work for him. That Christ is Lord and our battle must be fought using the spiritual power that He gives us.
Lk 13:10 “Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.
13:11 And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up.
13:12 But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, ‘Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.’
13:13 And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
13:14 But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, ‘There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.’
13:15 The Lord then answered him and said, ‘Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it?
13:16 So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound-think of it-for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?’
13:17 And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.”
“Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath…” (10)
Jesus was teaching. What did He teach about? Luke says He taught about the salvation of God, because it was prophesied about Him: “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God…”
We also notice that He was allowed on this occasion to teach in the synagogue, so it must have been in the earlier party of His ministry when the Pharisees and Scribes were not totally opposed to Him and His ministry.
Verse 11 tells us: “And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up.”
When I read this I thought: What is a spirit of infirmity? You do not hear people talking like this every day so what is a spirit of infirmity? Such a spirit is one that causes a physical or mental disability in the person. We all bear God’s image and Satan wants to distort or destroy it. He had managed to distort the image of God in this daughter of Abraham for 18 years - imagine it! (16)
When Jesus saw this woman He was not going to stand for it any longer. What could He do about it with everyone looking on?
I clearly remember the day when this passage was being dealt with at Bible College by the New Testament lecturer. He said that the woman’s ailment was probably something we would be able to heal with modern medicine. In other words, that it was a natural illness, a physically caused sickness.
That it was described in the way ancient people saw things. That her problem was described according to their limited knowledge, and how today we would not describe or treat people that way blah, blah, blah.
That today we, who know so much better than them, would treat it as a purely physical problem and that there was no mystery to it. (We would send her off to physio afterwards as follow up treatment)
The more mature students in my class were very quick to point out that was not the case. They pointed out that it was a spiritual problem the woman suffered from. It had physical results to be sure. She did present with a bent back and could not straighten it at all for 18 years. (verse 11)
Reasons for believing this are:
1) Luke is the writer of this Gospel. Both He and Jesus say the woman had a spiritual problem. He was a medical doctor. He would not say she “had a spirit of infirmity” unless he was sure that is what she had. It could be argued that he was mistaken, or that he did not understand the problem the woman had. However, such reasoning creates more problems than it solves.
Why would he write something he was mistaken about under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?
How could God, the Spirit of Truth authorise a known mistake in the inspired record?
Why would a Christian physician not understand the spiritual nature of this poor woman’s problem and ascribe it to a spiritual cause when it had happened naturally?
That would not even be truthful morally, let alone accurate Biblically, so there is no way Dr Luke would do that!