"What in your own experience might cause a woman to be bent over for eighteen years?"There are lots of ways, both physical and emotional that can bend some over for 18 years of suffering. And Jesus, who came to fulfill the Law of Moses rather than do away with it, is much more concerned about this woman and her needs than the needs of the holier-than-thou set to keep things under control. We see here Jesus doing what Jesus always did, breaking down barriers to reach people with healing and peace that comes only from God.
A woman in the crowd quickly replied, "Her children! Eighteen years is the minimum sentence parenthood brings."
Another woman spoke up and said: "Don't forget her husband. She was probably permanently bent over from picking up his dirty socks for thirty years."
Still another woman said: "Maybe she was tired of working like a slave for minimum wage or even tired of working like a slave at home for no wages at all."
"Or, perhaps, every time she held her head up and tried to be somebody, the people around her—both male and female—did all they could to deflate and diminish her again."
He is attacked for healing the woman, but as men and women sat separately in the synagogue and didn't speak to one another there, the fact that he has spoken those words to her, "Woman, you are set free from your ailment" is also a problem. The fact that it worked only makes things worse from one perspective.
In this reading we see how much Jesus wants those in bondage/suffering/forgotten to be released/set free/made whole. Jesus cared more for the woman in need than for those who would be upset. The desire of his heart was to set her free. Last night and through this early afternoon, I am working with others to lead a forgiveness retreat at Honey Creek. I pray that the same release from long term suffering will be possible in the lives of the participants. I know Jesus wants us all set free, able to stand straight once again.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor