Text: Luke 13:10-21 | Listen to Message
Find Rest Today
Derek Rishmawy writes this concerning chronic pain:
Seasons of prolonged physical pain are profoundly disorientating. At the outset, there may be confusion as well as the obvious discomfort of the condition itself. Still, there’s a sense that this too will pass, as so many other pains have. But when the days extend to weeks, and the weeks to months, panic and dread slowly set in when you realize the cramps, the shooting pain, the soreness, the headaches—whatever the pain may be—aren’t passing, and may never pass. They’re the new normal, and the new normal feels like hell. (“Comfort and Hope for Chronic Sufferers,” TGC blog, July 7, 2017)
The woman in Luke’s story had experienced this kind of living hell for the past eighteen years. She was all-too-acquainted with the physical limitations, the emotional torment, and the social and spiritual stigma of chronic pain. And on this particular day – a Sabbath day – Jesus said, “Enough!”
It’s important to notice in this story the stark contrast between Christless religion and the compassion of Jesus himself.
- Religion is concerned with the letter of the law, often to the exclusion of the spirit of the law. Jesus is concerned with the spirit of the law, never to the exclusion of the letter of the law.
- Religion is obsessed with what rules ought to be followed. Jesus is obsessed with the people who ought to experience redemption and rest.
- Religion says you exist for the law. Jesus says the law exists for you.
- Religion is calloused, hardhearted, and clueless when it comes to real people with real pain. Jesus is tender, compassionate, and perceptive toward the same people.
- Religion ostracizes, neglects, and shames broken people. Jesus identifies with them.
- Religion sees problematic people. Jesus sees people with problems.
- Religion is blind to its own inconsistencies and hypocrisy. Jesus’ integrity goes all the way down to the core of his being.
- Religion adds layers of bondage to those who are already bound. Jesus is the bondage breaker.
To benefit from this text, first look at your own life. What binds and hinders you? What thought patterns, memories, and reactions do you feel controlled by? What do you feel like you can’t stop doing or saying, no matter how hard you try? What’s disabling your affections, your emotions, or your relationships? What’s figuratively keeping you hunched over so that you can’t walk upright?
Jesus invites you to experience your own Independence Day through the power of the Gospel. Acknowledge what keeps you bound … then hold it out and ask Christ to break it. Trust him to deliver you into the glorious freedom of his kingdom. Then go and walk in light of the redemption and rest you’ve been given.
Finally, consider the lives of others around you. What keeps them from standing and walking upright? Don’t give them religion and rules, which may be fine and good, but lack the power to rescue them! Give them the transforming, healing, bondage-breaking, rest-giving hope which is Jesus Christ!