Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 19, 2020
Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, ‘Woman, you are set free from your ailment.’ When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. Luke 13:10-13 (NRSV)
I’ve struggled with good posture my entire life. As someone who reached the height of 6’5” by the time I was fourteen years old, it was easy to feel like an oversized giant in an undersized world! Whether it was to fit through doorways, or to fit into conversations, I had to stoop down and bend over. Over time this behavior became habitualized, and so as an adult I have spent many years trying to unlearn this behavior and stand up straight.
While this may be my personal physical struggle, whatever your size may be, as humans we all face a lifelong journey of learning to stand upright, for each of us is afflicted with a sickness that threatens to double us over and cripple our bodies and souls. When Jesus sees the woman of Luke 13, in many ways he is looking upon the whole of the human condition. Sin has doubled us over in pain and left us unable to heal ourselves. We long to be made whole yet are overcome by that which oppresses us.
Freedom from sin is never an isolated act of the will but is a surrender to the healing touch of God.
Sin dehumanizes us. It doubles us over and turns us into a shadow of what we were made to be. We may eat and sleep, laugh and cry, but apart from a true encounter with Christ, we will live our entire lives and not know what it means to be truly human. Jesus sees us in our sorrow and sickness and calls to us, inviting us out of the shadow and into the light of his presence. May we, like the woman in Luke’s gospel, hear this call, and with faith receive the healing touch that transforms our sorrow into rejoicing and our pain into praise.
Father, show us the places in our soul that are still in need of your healing touch, and give us the strength to move towards you in faith as we encounter afresh your love shown to us in Jesus. Amen.
What does it look like for you to hear and respond to the call of Jesus upon your own life today?
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