Summary: This message will be a challenge for many because the church, in general, has become a place where the power of God does not exist.
Even though Jesus has purchased our complete redemption, Satan tries to make us feel as if we still belong to him. He brings us into situations that confuse us and takes our focus off of the deliverance that now belongs to us as children of God.
Christians are often blind to the needs of others because we’re so focused on our own needs. And because of this, Satan’s attacks go unchallenged. Well this morning, we’re going to see how Jesus dealt with an attack that had gone unchallenged for 18 years. We’re going to see how Jesus put Satan on notice and shows the people what it means to belong to my Father.
We’re going to look at Luke 13:10-17, the record of the woman with a spirit of infirmity.
(10) And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.
(11) And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself
Do you see the last part of verse 11 where it says “and could in no wise lift up herself? In the Amplified Bible it reads this way: “… bent completely forward and utterly unable to straighten herself up or to look forward.”
This woman had a spirit of infirmity, “a weakness in the body caused by a demon.” Do you see that word of? It’s in the genitive case and means “the origin of something or the cause of something.”
You could read this phrase as “an infirmity caused by a spirit”. I want you to see this lady. She was bent over with her face nearly level with her knees. One writer describes her condition this way: “She was so twisted and bent over with arthritis that she couldn’t even look up.”
Every time this woman walked into the synagogue, she reminded the congregation how utterly powerless they were and how utterly powerless the religious leaders were. For 18 years she came needing deliverance. For 18 years she left needing deliverance.
For 18 years Satan had deceived the congregation and the religious leaders. They believed there was nothing that could be done for her. Can’t you hear the demon declaring “I’m the real power here – not God!”?
Now get this … no one expected things to change. Every Sabbath the people came expecting nothing and every Sabbath they received nothing. They came to fulfill their religious obligation, their religious duty.
Now I want you to really see this woman. (Walk to the back of the sanctuary and bend over like the woman.) She’s coming through the doors. She can’t look up so she looks at the floor. As she walks she holds on to the pew and turns her head so she can see sideways. No one in the congregation pays her any attention. A child runs up to her and asks “How you doing Miss So and So? Let me help you find a seat.” She takes her by the hand to an empty seat. Some in the congregation turn, see them, smile and turn around.
What this means to us today:
Many of us go to church with little expectation beyond what we see week after week. Yes, we go up for prayer. We even give in the offering when it’s time. But to say we truly expect God to do something in our lives – well, admit it – that’s something all together different.
When we live our lives like this Satan owns us. You might even say he’s bought us back without payment. When this happens, Satan looks at Jesus and says “You went through all that for nothing. I still own them.” Now let that sink in.
(12) And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.
What’s the first thing Jesus does? He SEES the woman. The woman had been coming to the synagogue for 18 years and the people no longer saw her condition. Satan had dulled their sense of compassion. He had stolen their hearts.
Can you imagine what went through the minds of the people as Jesus fixed his eyes on her? Can you imagine the silence? Jesus had begun to teach and then suddenly, he stops. Everyone in the synagogue turns around to see who he is looking at. Even the woman probably pauses not knowing she is the center of attention.
The next thing Jesus does is “called her out.” He SPEAKS to her. Get this picture. The woman is coming into the sanctuary. She’s slowly and deliberately making her way up the aisle. As she passes one of the pews, she hears Jesus call to her: “You there, the lady in the aisle who is bent over.” The woman stops. Jesus says, “Yes, I’m talking to you.” She can’t look up to see who is calling her. Imagine what’s going through her mind? “Who is this calling me?” “Why is he calling me?” “What have I done?” “What does he want?” You see, not only has Satan stolen her physical wholeness, but after 18 years, he has stolen any hope she has of ever being able to walk normally again.