“Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, ‘Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.’ And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, ‘There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.’ The Lord then answered him and said, ‘Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?’ And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him” (Luke 13:10-17, NKJV).
I love to read about the power, wisdom, and compassion of Jesus Christ when it comes up against religious tradition. In this simple story about a woman with a chronic back problem, Jesus forever takes the lid off to reveal who exactly is behind sickness and disease – Satan through the agency of a spirit of infirmity (demonic activity that produces chronic weakness, debilitation, or sickness mentally, emotionally, or physically). For many years, the enemy was able to lay the blame at God’s feet with even some of God’s servants and ministers beating the drum and bearing witness to a wrong conclusion about the nature and origin of sickness. But Jesus makes it plain: “…whom Satan has bound.” Acts 10:38 echoes this vital truth by revealing that God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power and went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil. The simple truth is that Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came that we might have life, to the full, until it overflows (John 10:10).
It’s laughable to think that the synagogue ruler would challenge the people to come on the normal six days of work to be healed instead of the Sabbath. It’s amusing (and sad) because all this time people ought to have received healing ministry during the rest of the week through the synagogue system (healing has always been the will of God and “the Lord that heals us” has always made provision for healing throughout both the Old and New Testaments). The truth is, however, that people started to get healed when Jesus came preaching the message of the blessing and restoration and then backed it up with supernatural power. This is precisely why the Scripture says that the Word of God is made void (robbed of its power) by the traditions of men (Matthew 15:6). This is a classic example of a religious leader twisting Scripture to serve his own agenda and protect his own insecurities. It is unthinkable that his position and prominence was more important than the spiritual welfare and restoration of the people he was charged to lead.
But Jesus takes the issue even further. He chides the rulers because hypocritically they would untie or unbind their animals to make sure they had life-sustaining water on the Sabbath but through their religious tradition impeded human beings – covenant children of God like Abraham who have healing as a benefit of that covenant – from partaking of God’s living water. That same spirit that we see now that demands the whales be saved while espousing the right to terminate unborn children has been in the world since the fall of man. Men, made in God’s image, are made inferior to animals and lands that were made by God for man both to enjoy and to steward.
A vital weapon the enemy uses to keep God’s people bound is ignorance – a lack of knowledge of the heart, nature, will, and power of God. Hosea 4:6 indicates that God’s people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. No more. Jesus has blown the devil’s cover (and religion’s cover). Be encouraged that healing is part of the covenant blessing we share by faith (Galatians 3:13-14) and that, according to Jesus, covenant men and women of God OUGHT to be free from their bonds. Rejoice in the knowledge that there is no chain, no bondage, and no affliction that can stand up to the anointing released through faith in the name of Jesus. For whom the Son sets free is truly, free indeed – as free as Jesus is free (John 8:36).