Summary: This dear woman, as Jesus called her, despite her situation, which plagued her for 18 years, was in church - she continued to be in the synagogue on the Sabbath. I may have heard a similar message to this many years ago, but if I did, I do not know who i
Please Release Me
Scripture: Luke 14:10-16
Do you remember this song? (Sing)
“Please release me, let me go. I don’t love you anymore. To live together is a sin, so release me, and let me love again.”
We’re not going to discuss the poor theology of the meaning behind those lyrics, but I do want to talk for a little while today about the importance and accuracy actually, of those lyrics, within a spiritual context in a person’s life.
Take your Bible and turn to Luke, chapter 14, verses 10-16. (READ)
Verse 16 tells us that Jesus RELEASED this dear woman from her bondage. For 18 years she was unable to stand up straight. She was bent over, and the Bible tells us it wasn’t a medical condition that was keeping her that way - it wasn’t old age, or osteoporosis, or any other medical, explainable reason why she was bent double. No - this dear lady, the scripture tells us was crippled by an evil spirit. She was unable to stand up straight. Now with that being the case, I would think she would have great difficultly looking another person in the eye. It would not be easy for her to enjoy the beauty around her - instead, her scenery, for the most part, would be the ground beneath her. She wouldn’t be able to reach those places that her normal stature and height would allow her to reach. She’s in bondage to her crippling predicament, brought on, we are told, by an evil spirit.
But there is something we need to understand about this woman. We need to understand that even though she was in this bondage, even though she was held captive in a lot of ways by this crippling of her body...
How many of you have pulled a muscle and ended up with a kinked neck, or sore back for several days, and you can’t quite do the things you normally do. This woman had that kink for 18 years!! And yet there is something remarkable about this woman that I want us all to see - this dear woman, as Jesus called her, this precious daughter of Abraham, – was in church. Despite her predicament - despite her situation - which plagued her already for 18 years - she continued to be in the synagogue on the Sabbath.
I don’t know about you, but I think we can learn some lessons from a lady like this and from her story. The first thing I think we see from this lady is that:
1. The evil in your life will keep you doubled over.
This dear woman was oppressed by an evil spirit. It kept her, literally, doubled over.
Now a week ago, I was doubled over. I can tell you - it’s no place to be.
And I think, like this lady, when there are things in our lives from which we need to be released, things we need to let go of, until we get that touch from Jesus, we’ll end up like her. Look at the state we said she was already in. And we’re in that kind of condition too when we hold on to things, whether it’s possessions or people or emotions, that are not pleasing to God. We’re not able to look the other person in the eye, not able to reach the things we should be reaching for - the goals and the vision God has for us, not able to see the beauty around us for looking at the ground.
What happens when you see someone you’re mad at? What do you automatically do? Divert your eyes (to the ground?) And the scripture here tells us that instantly - the instant that Jesus touched her - she stood up straight.
Folks - it’s my desire for all of us, that we’ll stand up straight.
There’s another thing I notice about this lady, that I think we can learn from and that is this:
We need to:
2. Be in the right place to be released.
We touched on this at the beginning. Here’s this lady - she’s oppressed by an evil spirit. She’s hunched over. For 18 years she’s in this bondage and yet look where she is on Sunday - she’s in church!
What is the first thing we do when we have something in our lives that we know God is not pleased about. Quite often, we start missing church, right? At the very least we avoid the Pastor!! Come on now - you know that’s true!!!
Now there’s a few things we can tell from this lady in bondage by the evil spirit. We know that it took her some stamina to be in church. How do I know that? Because evil spirits don’t like to be in the presence of the Master. If you look back just a few chapters at chapter 9 you’ll see when Jesus asked them to bring the boy who had an evil spirit, (this woman was crippled, the boy was oppressed by screaming), when he came forward toward Jesus, the evil spirit threw him on the ground, and Jesus rebuked the spirit.