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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Candidate For A Miracle

Luke 13:10-13 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 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. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

I don’t know that you have ever thought about it but no one really wants to be a candidate for a miracle!  If you need a miracle then that usually means something is very wrong.  However, that being said I would be surprised if most of us did not need a miracle of some kind in our lives.  It could be the restoration of a broken relationship, the healing of an infirmity, or the provision for a great need.

We think about miracles in the context of deliverance but we don’t always get the miracle in that context.  Sometimes our miracle is in the form of sustaining grace.  We want deliverance but should learn to be satisfied with grace, recognizing that deliverance is always a possibility.

This passage focuses our attention on deliverance and a woman who was a candidate for a miracle.  This woman does not appear to have been seeking a miracle of deliverance.  Although she was not seeking a miracle of deliverance she was a candidate for one and in the end she received one.

VS: 10 - THE PRIORITY OF JESUS

Jesus was in the Synagogue.  Jesus regularly attended Synagogue.  We might well take him as our pattern for church attendance!  Jesus understood this was a place for ministering the word.  Jesus understood this was a place that people would come to be ministered to from the word.  I don’t think you would ever hear Jesus say, I don’t have to go to Synagogue to worship the Father.
In fact it says that he was in “one” of the Synagogues.  Most towns and village in Israel had a Synagogue.  So wherever Jesus found himself on the Sabbath he could be found in the Synagogue.

Jesus was teaching.  It is important to remember this was Jesus’ main priority during his life.  Teaching and preaching truth. He went to the Synagogue faithfully because it provided him a platform for teaching the word of God.  The miracles of Jesus were not an end in themselves but rather were the means to an end.

John 10:25   Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.
John 10:37-38   If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
John 5:36   But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.
John 3:2   The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
John 14:11   Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.

The miracles of Jesus was for the purpose of validating his claims. This is the very reason why everyone does not receive a miracle of deliverance.  The Lord’s purpose is not to do miracles but to teach. The same holds true today.  When miracles serve that end then they occur, when they don’t then they don’t occur.


VS: 11 - THE PRESENCE OF A WOMAN

And, behold, there was a woman.  A woman was there.  The  impression is that the woman was not drawling attention to herself.  She was not clamoring for the Lord’s attention.  She was just there.The impression I am left with is that she was there because, like Jesus, that is where she was on the Sabbath.  As we will see she could certainly use a miracle but she doesn’t seem to have come seeking one.  Could it be that she had learned what the Apostle Paul was to learn some years later; in whatever state she was to be content?  Though she may not have been seeking a miracle she was certainly a candidate for one!

Do you need a miracle today?  It might do us well to just do what we are supposed to do, be where we are supposed to be, act like we are supposed to act, serve like we are supposed to serve, trust like we are supposed to trust and leave the miracle of deliverance to God.  It is always a good thing and a miracle of sorts itself to, in the midst of our need, be where we need to be!

We have unfortunately developed into a culture that focuses on what it believes it needs rather than being what we need to be.  In fact we often excuse ourselves of being what we need to be because of some need going unattended to in our lives.  Here is an unnamed woman whose memory should be pressed upon our conscience.

The woman had a spirit of infirmity.  This woman had the breath of feebleness!  In verse 16 Jesus describes the woman as having been bound by Satan.  In the most literal sense this would indicate devil possession being the occasion of the feebleness.  The overall impression does not convince me of this conclusion.  In a broader sense it could have reference to the fact that the devil had used this infirmity to hinder the woman.  That Satan had actually been the perpetrator of this infirmity.  Much like we see in the account of Job and all the havoc the devil created in his life with God’s permission.  It was a trying condition.

The woman had been so troubled for 18 years.  This was not a short lived affliction.  Remember trouble can be bad not just because of their intensity but because of their longevity.  Small problems that won’t go away can become a heavy burden.  This was a big deal.  How long have you been troubled?  Three, seven, twelve, eighteen years?  Remember the man at the pool of Bethesda?  He had suffered with his infirmity for 38 years!  If our troubles are long standing we should rejoice that at least we have been standing in grace!  We must always remember that God allows suffering to continue for some greater good!  To complain too loudly or too often is to express impatience with God.

The woman was bowed together.  The woman was stooped altogether, she was completely overcome.  This woman bore the physical characteristics of a hard life.  Many a year of suffering had elapsed in this woman’s life.  I couldn’t help but think how many people though not bowed down physically are certainly bowed down emotionally and spiritually.  On the inside they feel the daily burden of their struggle.  On the inside they feel the daily pain of their disappointment.  On the inside they feel the daily challenge of their problem.  On the inside they feel the daily lashing of their temptation.  They are, on the inside, bowed together!  Only occasionally do their troubles seep through to the outside.  The rest of the time they bear it silently before God and possibly a select few confidants.

The woman could in no wise lift herself up.  She was helpless.To be helpless is not to be hopeless.  The devil wants to convince us that the two are undeniable linked.  But remember he is a liar and the father of it!

Not only was her problem serious, not only was it long standing, but she could not overcome it in her own strength.  This woman had it bad on all accounts.  She had an intense problem.  She had a long-standing problem.  She had a problem which rendered her helpless.  She needed a miracle worker!  Thank God there was one available.  She was, and had been, a candidate for a miracle of deliverance!

VS: 12-13b - THE PERCEPTION OF JESUS

Jesus saw her.  Let me just say this.  Jesus sees you!  It does not seem that this woman came to be seen, but nonetheless she was seen.  Jesus knows your burden, trial, affliction, disappointment. Jesus knows how long you have suffered under you heavy weight.  Jesus knows there is nothing you can do about it.  We should take comfort in the fact that he knows!  He watching!  He cares!

1 Peter 5:7   Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
Jesus called her.

Jesus called her!  She didn’t call Jesus, Jesus called her.  Just because he did not call with deliverance to day does not mean he will not call with deliverance tomorrow.  Deliverance is distributed according to his divine wisdom!  Do we really want it any other way!

Jesus is calling you in your adversity and trial.  He may be calling you to say, “My grace is sufficient”.  Even in death he does not leave us. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for thou art with me" is the encouragement of scripture.

Jesus spoke to her.  Jesus speaks to us today through his word. When we find ourselves in need of a miracle what we really need at a more fundamental level is a word from Jesus.  That word can be found in the Holy Bible!

Psalms 119:67   Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.
Psalms 119:71   It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
Psalms 119:75   I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.
Psalms 119:107   I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.

Jesus touched her.  He laid his hands on her.  Imagine if you will if the woman had allowed her need to keep her from being where she needed to be she would not have been touched by Jesus.  Her needs therefore were met in part because she was where she needed to be. She was doing what she needed to do.

Jesus delivered her.  And immediately she was made straight.
She woke up that morning a bent over cripple.  She went to bed that night having spent the day standing erect!  What a difference a day can make when the miracle worker gets involved.  The miracle worker does not need hours, day, weeks, or months much less years.  He speaks, he touches and it is done!  He can do in an instant what you cannot do for yourself.  He can provide for that need.  He can heal that body.  He can change that heart.  Eighteen years of suffering does not necessarily require eighteen years of rehabilitation.

VS: 13c - THE PRAISE OF THE WOMAN

The woman glorified God!  Is not this the ultimate goal of Jesus' teaching and his miracles?  To glorify God.  Great deliverances bring forth great praise.  It should matter not whether the deliverance comes in the trial or from the trial.  The rest of her life was spent telling people about the time she went to the Synagogue and Jesus was there!

When we find ourselves bowed down let us remember there is a miracle worker who can deliver and will provide grace!
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