Summary: A sermon for the 13 Sunday after Pentecost Proper 16 Healing the woman on the sabbath
13th Sunday after Pentecost
August 26, 2007
"My Grace is Sufficient for you"
"Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And there was a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her, "Woman, you are freed from your infirmity." And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, said to the people, "There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the sabbath day." Then the Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?" As he said this, all his adversaries were put to shame; and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him." Luke 13:10-17, RSV.
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
In a recent issue of his Tuesday Mornings newsletter, Tom Barnard recalls hearing a minister-and-wife team talk about the pain they suffered when their beautiful daughter died of cancer nearly a year earlier. "During the months of failed treatments they had been constant in their confidence that God would heal their daughter. Hundreds of their friends joined them in faith, believing God for healing. Healing did not happen.
Putting their lives together again was not easy. They kept busy in their ministry. They traveled to places around the world, preaching and teaching to thousands. But they struggled to be positive in the wake of such a disappointing loss.
Then God led them to the following passage of Scripture:
"And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ’My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Cor. 12:7-9 NKJV)
The New Living Translation renders that key verse this way: "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." The Greek word for sufficient means "to be content . . . to raise a barrier . . . to ward off that which pushes us to one side." Basically, "sufficient" means grace that is enough, but not super abundant, fantastic, huge, or incredible.
Sufficient does not say to us, "Grow up." It doesn’t say, "Get over it." It doesn’t say, "You’ll understand it better by and by." It just says, "My grace is sufficient for you." It says, "I am standing with you in this situation." That’s really all we need to know." (1)
Jesus showed the woman in the temple in our gospel lesson this morning that he was standing with her in her situation. Jesus could see beyond the law to the power of grace, kindness, caring and compassionate for those people suffering around him.
A little background. The synagogue was a place for men to worship. There was a place off to the side for the women and the two did not mix.
So this lady should not of even been in the same room with Jesus and the other men, but she was.
My her thought process went something like this.
"I have been ill for many years. This new rabbi is not like the others. He seems to care. The other people accuse me of having a sin or something that caused this condition, but I have heard that Jesus does not accuse, but heals. Blind men, another women who was bleeding all were healed, so maybe if I very quietly walk over the the other side, he might see me and heal me. I am going to give it a try."
She very quietly walks over to the other side. Stays in the shadows. But Jesus sees her and says: "Woman, you are freed from your infirmity." 13 And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God.
Can you imagine her delight, her excitement at this event.