Summary: Whatever is broken in your life, Jesus can fix it. When suffering or religious rules bend you out of shape, let Jesus get you bent on the joy of God’s kingdom.
When You Get Bent Out of Shape
by David O. Dykes
I recently read a funny story that illustrates how most of us are never satisfied. Frank and Mabel had been married for 40 years. Frank turned 60 a few months earlier and they were celebrating Mabel’s 60th birthday. During the birthday party, Frank walked into another room and was surprised to see a fairy godmother appear before him. She said, “Frank, this is your lucky day. I’m here to grant you one wish–what would you like?” He thought for a moment, and said, “Well, I would really like to have a wife who was thirty years younger than me.” The fairy godmother said, “No problem.” She waved her wand, and “poof” suddenly Frank was 90 years old.
I imagine old Frank was a little bent out of shape by the way that turned out!
I have a friend in Alabama, Jack, whose favorite expression was “bent out of shape.” When he was upset about something he always said he was “bent out of shape” about it, and I recall he stayed “bent out of shape” much of the time. And, Jack, if you order this tape, don’t get all bent out of shape, because you know I love you like a brother.
In the passage of scripture today we are going to look at two people who were bent out of shape; one was a woman who was physically bent out of shape and the other was a religious man who was spiritually bent out of shape; one was crippled by a spirit of weakness and the other was crippled by a spirit of legalism and bitterness. Jesus was able to help one of them, but the other one stayed bent out of shape. Let’s read about them in Luke 13:10-21:
On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”
The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?
We’ll stop here and read the remaining verses at the end of the message. I love to study what Jesus did and what He said because He is still doing the same things today, and His words are still fresh and powerful for us. Many of you may be “bent out of shape” today for a variety of reasons. If you will pay attention to Jesus today, He can set you free. First, let’s consider a woman:
I. BENT OUT OF SHAPE BY SUFFERING (10-13)
Jesus was still trying to reach the Jews, so we find Him teaching in this synagogue. The Jewish Sabbath begins at sunset on Friday, and most synagogues still have services on Friday evening, so this is probably on a Friday night. The opposition against Jesus is growing, and this is the last time in Luke’s gospel that we find Jesus in a synagogue.
He saw a poor woman who was so bent out of shape she couldn’t stand up straight. This was more than just a case of osteoporosis; she had been this way for 18 years. I can just picture her bent over so she couldn’t look up and see the sky. She had spent the last 18 years looking down into the dirt at her feet and everyone else’s feet. No doubt, eating and drinking were difficult and she could only rest curled up in a fetal position.
Remember, Luke is a physician. Dr. Luke uses interesting words to diagnose her condition. He doesn’t use the word that would mean “illness, disease, or injury.” (Greek words malkia or nosos). In verse 11 he uses the phrase “crippled by a spirit.” Then in verse 12 Jesus uses the word “infirmity.” It’s the word asthenia, which doesn’t mean “sickness caused by disease” it means “weakness.”
It’s probable her weakness was caused by demonic influence because Jesus says in verse 16 she had been “bound by Satan” for 18 years. Demonic spirits can provoke physical problems but not every illness or disease is caused by demons. There are 26 recorded miracles where Jesus heals someone of a physical problem and only seven of those are caused by demonic influence.