“Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.” – CS Lewis
Gospel text (Lk 13,10-17):
Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath.
And a woman was there who for eighteen years
had been crippled by a spirit;
she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.
When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said,
"Woman, you are set free of your infirmity."
He laid his hands on her,
and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.
But the leader of the synagogue,
indignant that Jesus had cured on the Sabbath,
said to the crowd in reply,
"There are six days when work should be done.
Come on those days to be cured, not on the Sabbath day."
The Lord said to him in reply, "Hypocrites!
Does not each one of you on the Sabbath
untie his ox or his ass from the manger
and lead it out for watering?
This daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now,
ought she not to have been set free on the Sabbath day
from this bondage?"
When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated;
and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.
We always have an excuse for not being healed. In our gospel passage, the chief of the synagogue said it was the wrong day for Jesus to release the stooped woman from her shackles (Lk 13:14, 16). If we are honest with ourselves, there's always something standing in the way of our being healed. Receiving God's healing means obeying "Doctor's orders" (Dr. Jesus), although we can think of a hundred excuses why not to obey. God's healing is for you, for now, and for here.
In Luke 13, we are provided with a very clear example of what it looks like when someone allows the work done by God in their life to define them. Having been crippled for 18 years, a woman is healed and set free by Jesus. Luke tells us “she at once stood up straight and glorified God.” Did it say she contemplated if she were truly healed, or just partially healed? Nope. Did it suggest that she continued to resume the gait of one crippled by disease simply because that was what she was accustomed to? No, of course not! She didn’t spend any time contemplating if she were healed or if she wasn’t, or if she should perhaps still move about her world as if she were still crippled just because she used to be (it would be absurd if she had, right?). Rather, she immediately stood up, and glorified the Lord, rejoicing in her new-found state of being. She embraced her new identity that she had been graced with, let go of her past, and walked into her future praising God for setting her free.
May we be more like the woman in Luke chapter 13. May we let go of our failures…sins…insecurities…fears. Not limit ourselves to the crippling definitions that they have over our lives, but rather embrace our new found identity in the Lord. May we allow him to define us, allow him to claim us as his children, as his beloved. May we go forth glorifying and sharing the great work that has been done in our lives, focusing our eyes upward and outward instead of inward and down.