A sermon idea based on Luke 13:10-17.
Luke 13:10-17 NRSV
 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.  But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.”  But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water?  And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?”  When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.
The relevant topic I would be addressing, based on this text…
We can live as skeptics and critics of what others are experiencing spiritually, or we can rejoice that God offers his healing to everyone around us.
Information about the text that matters to the message…
In the middle of Jesus’ ministry, we so often see his activity and teachings in conflict with the prejudices and prescribed rules and rituals held so closely by the religious leaders around him. It’s possible that, in their example, we can see a bit of our own critical nature at work.
This particular passage tells the story of Jesus’ healing a crippled woman on the sabbath and receiving pushback from the synagogue leaders. And I think there is a big lesson for us to learn, today, about the need to rejoice in how God is at work in the lives of others, even when we don’t quite understand their lived experiences.
We’re quick to disqualify an experience as miraculous, or someone as genuine changed, or a testimony of God’s grace at work in the repentant people. But we can never forget:
- God is capable of healing anyone.
- God is interested in healing everyone.
- My own healing is entirely the result of God’s grace.
And our proper response to seeing and hearing how Jesus has been working is worship and praise.
The big call-to-action in the message…
Do you find your own rules, rituals, and traditional ideas of God limiting your ability to praise him for what he is doing in the lives of others? If so, take a moment to praise the God who loves everyone, heals anyone, and offers his grace to all.
About the Cover Art: Christ in Glory; Miracles of Christ, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.