2010 Luke’s Gospel
Jesus Preaches Repentance and
Heals a Crippled Woman
Key Verse: 13:12,13 " When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. "
In this passage Jesus teaches us two lessons. First, Jesus taught the absolute necessity and urgency of repentance. "Repent" is a word we are pretty familiar with. But sometimes we fail to understand what it really means. Let's learn what it means and why it is so important. Most of all, let us repent. Second, Jesus healed a crippled woman and revealed the compassion, mercy and power of God. This Jesus gives us real hope. In this study, we can learn how repentance and faith bring out Jesus' grace, and lead to the restoration of a right relationship with God.
I. Repent or perish (1-9)
Look at verse 1. "Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices." Apparently, some Galileans were offering sacrifices at the Jerusalem temple. Since Galileans were known to be revolutionaries, they were perceived as rebels against Rome. So Pilate killed them and mixed their blood with the animal blood of their sacrifices. This cruel, godless and irreverent act incited the Jewish people, who were sensitive about God's holiness and about blood. They were greatly insulted. They demanded, "Why did this happen?" They concluded that the Galileans were worse sinners than others. This is the tendency of people who know the law but do not live by it (Ro 2:21-24). They judge others and avoid confronting their own sins.
Jesus wakes them in their foolishness and misunderstanding. Look at verses 2-3. "Jesus answered, 'Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.'" Then Jesus repeated this teaching in verses 4-5, using a story from Jerusalem about a tower in Siloam that fell accidentally and killed eighteen people. In this way Jesus declares that each person, regardless of human background, should be most concerned about repenting their own sins. Our great task is not to blame others, but to repent of our own sins. Jesus urges us to repent.
Then what does it mean to repent? The word "repent" originally means "to turn" or "to change one's mind and purpose after acquiring knowledge." So when we learn that we are doing something we should not do, or failing to do something we should do, we must change accordingly. Many assume that the purpose of repentance is to improve their well-being or productivity. However, the true biblical repentance should not be for selfish gain, but for restoring the broken relationship with God our Father. Biblical repentance is turning from sin and self, and turning toward God. It requires recognizing God as God, and recognizing sin as sin. The problem of this generation is that we take sin too lightly. We say, “It’s okay, everyone’s doing it. At least I don’t sin as much as she does, so I am better off. I will enjoy myself now, and repent later in my convenient time.” Let me tell you what. Sin is not a joke. Sin is not a small matter. It is our enemy. It is God’s enemy. God loves us, but he hates and despises dirty sins in us. If we don’t fight it, it comes in to our hearts, and deceives us. Then it spreads like notorious cancer cells. And soon, it destroys us completely in our mind and soul. Not only that, sin has a big price tag on it: death. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And also today Jesus says, “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” “Perish” means to be utterly destroyed both spiritually and physically. Jesus does not want us to perish, so he warns us with his compassion that we the children of God do not face the destruction but the true peace and joy in the kingdom of God. Let us read verse 3, “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
I believe that we all, each and every one of us including mature missionaries and shepherds are facing and struggling with our sin problems. We have sins of greed, lust, selfishness, self-recognition, laziness, and many more. This makes us feel powerless, guilty, ashamed, and worthless. And more than anything, this sin breaks the bond, the relationship with our God. When we lose the relationship with him, our Christian life becomes like show that we put on with no heart, with no desire, and with no joy. How pathetic our lives are turning into! We’ve got to make a change, and make as soon as possible. Let us come to God with honesty and desire to be healed, restored, and renewed. Of course, true repentance is harder than it sounds because it is about making firm decision and commitment. It is to turn back from the old way of life that focused only on pleasing ourselves to live to please God. Don’t be afraid thinking that we won’t be able to enjoy the things that we used to. Don’t be afraid because the true joy and peace that comes from repentance and new life are far more genuine and everlasting than the joy that comes from the world.
Repentance is the most urgent matter for any human being. It should be done today, with no delay. Though repentance is so urgent, most people think they have a lot of time to repent. Jesus proclaimed repentance even through tragic events. People need to be told to repent (Lk 3:7; Mk 1:15). We should learn from Jesus. In times of tragedy, we must repent and help others to repent, instead of justifying and denying ourselves. Let's remember Jesus' words, "But unless you repent, you too will all perish."
Jesus followed his teaching about repentance with a parable in verses 6-7 about a fruitless fig tree. This parable teaches us that real repentance produces fruit (Lk 3:8). The fig tree refers first of all to the nation of Israel. God planted them in the best place with the best blessings to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. God used them to bring the Messiah into the world. He wanted the blessings of peace, justice and righteousness to flow throughout the earth from Israel. He wanted to see all nations stream to Israel to share their blessing. But wicked religious leaders guided Israel to reject Messiah Jesus. They abandoned God's purpose in order to maintain their pride and position. Many ordinary people were too cowardly to make independent decisions, even though they saw that Jesus was the Christ. To these people, to repent meant welcoming the Messiah and fulfilling their God-given purpose. They needed to make a commitment to the Christ. They needed to finally open their spiritual eyes to see Jesus and the spiritual world.
Let us read verses 6-8, “Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” God has blessed each of us in many ways. Not only he gave us precious life to live, he has been so faithful and humble to provide us everything we needed. He sent us here to United States, to NJ ministry with clear purpose to train and grow us into missionaries and shepherds for the dying souls in America. We are not here to enjoy the worldly fun. We are not here to enjoy our lust with worldly lovers. We are not here to fulfill American dreams! We are here to bear fruit with God-given life and mission. I want us to think about this today. For what, are we here? For what are we struggling with culture, language, homesick, and failures? We better come up with a good answer before God. Our God is merciful God who forgives. God is the God of overflowing love and grace. His love for us was clearly shown when he sacrifice his one and only son to die on the cross. Our sin costed Jesus’ blood. Let us not make Jesus’ blood go as waste. Let us not take God’s love and mercy as granted. Let us truly repent today, and experience the life that is free sins! Amen.
II. Jesus said, "Woman, you are set free...." (10-17)
In the previous section, Jesus taught plain truth: "Repent or perish." It is because Jesus loves people and does not want anyone to perish. In this section, Jesus reveals the compassion and power of God in a life-giving healing. It is a story of Jesus' pure grace. On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. She had practical difficulties each day in dressing herself, preparing food, doing laundry, and cleaning her house. She suffered emotionally and socially. No one ever told her that she is beautiful. Worst of all, she suffered spiritually. Luke, a medical doctor, says her condition was caused by a spirit. Jesus said that she was bound by Satan. She was under spiritual oppression. The devil shouted in her ear, "You are no good. God doesn't love you. Why don't you just die." Maybe she did want to die. But as a human being made in God's image, she desired to live. She existed in an oppressed, tormented state, day after painful day, for eighteen long years.
Many people are tormented by Satan. Even though their bodies may seem healthy, they are oppressed by a dark power which they cannot overcome. One Christian medical doctor testified that nearly ten percent or his patients were so depressed that considered suicide. Satan's oppression makes people feel empty and meaningless. They lose all joy and hope and just exist in dark misery from day to day.
Though this woman suffered terribly, she was in the synagogue on the Sabbath day. She struggled hard to love God, overcoming herself. Look at verse 12a. "When Jesus saw her, he called her forward...." Jesus immediately understood the pain and suffering of this woman as though it were his own. He did not wait for her to ask for help, but immediately called her forward. It might have been hard for her to come. But upon hearing Jesus' words of power and compassion, she was strengthened to try. She moved inch by inch and came to the front. It was a great act of faith on her part. Then, Jesus spoke to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity" (12b). The spirit that had crippled her was driven out. Her soul was freed from the terrible oppression. Though her body was freed, she did not move right away. So Jesus put his hands on her and helped her. Her bones became strong and straight. Her muscles healed and all of her nerves were restored. Her back was fully healed in an instant and she became like a young woman again. She straightened up for the first time in 18 years. She beheld Jesus' compassionate face. She saw the amazed smiles on the faces of people in the synagogue. Then she praised God. She knew that it was the power of God and the compassion of God which had healed her.
In this way Jesus showed us that he came to set us free from the oppression of the devil. Through his healing we can be assured that Jesus wants his children to be free from all infirmities and live to bring glory to God. Do you feel free? Or do you feel crippled? I feel crippled in the relationship with my God. I feel crippled in my heart of worship. And I feel crippled in the burning compassion for the mission. As you know well, in New Jersey ministry, I am in charge of many tasks. And I thank God for the great opportunity to serve his work. However since some time on, I’ve been losing my burning heart for God. I used to do the work of God out of joy and clear purpose to glorify God. But now many times, I feel like I am putting up a show with lukewarm heart of worship. I do out of responsibility rather than from my heart and soul, and it only thickens the wall between my God and me. I have been losing my mission to shepherd college students and JBF with my heart. I only pay attention to their weaknesses and short-comings, and start judging and criticizing them instead of trying to understand them and praying for them with my sincere heart. For the first time in a long time, I went out to fishing with my mother a week ago to College Avenue. And it was the first time I ever went to fishing with my mother. It felt weird trying to evangelize with my mother. So we divided, and started fishing. And from far away, I saw my mother who shamelessly approached to the dying campus souls with such compassion and smile with broken English. At that time, I saw the true woman of God and a mother of prayer who loves God more than anything else in the world. During her stay, she visited every house-church, had fellowship with them, and prayed for them with her whole heart. And she told me one thing that gave me such inspiration to restore my mission spirit. She said, “Do not go to bed until you influence at least one person with the word the word of God. That is to live as a man of mission.” At that moment my crippled mission spirit and my crippled heart of worship were restored in Jesus. I regained the confidence and compassion for the campus students and JBF. Amen. We all have infirmities. We all have the spots where it hurts. Let’s not hide them. Let’s come to Jesus as we are because he came to heal your very wounded spot that you are crying about. Let us bring it to Jesus who says, “you are set free from your infirmity.” Amen.
However, the synagogue ruler was indignant. He did not care at all about the woman. Rather, he became critical that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath. Lacking the courage to confront Jesus, he rebuked the people, "There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath." Jesus answered, "You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?" Jesus rebuked them for caring for their animals but not needy people. They were wolves in shepherd's clothes. They were humiliated. But the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing (17).
In this passage we learn that we must repent or we will perish in the fire of hell. We also learn that Jesus is full of compassion and power to heal. Jesus' healing makes us strong, strong enough to live for God's purpose and to bear the fruit that will last. Jesus came to heal, so let Jesus heal our wounds. Let's repent and trust Jesus, and pray for the needy people of our time. Amen.
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|»||Jesus Preaches Repentance and Heals a Crippled Woman(Luke 13:1-17) by 2nd Gen M. Joseph Lee on 06/06/10||admin||2010.06.07||14851|