This week, we’ve seen the miraculous, healing power of God in the lives of women. Each story has shown us the incredible value that God has for healing women of all ages. We’ve seen Jesus’s encounter with women who had been sick for only a little while. Others, like the woman with an issue of blood, had been sick for quite a while. Today we meet another woman with a years-long illness. Luke 13 introduces us to a woman who had been crippled for eighteen years. Eighteen years. Unlike the woman with the issue of blood, this woman was able to enter the temple and interact with her religious community. However, she was still in pain. Due to an issue with her spine, she was permanently bent over. How painful it must have been!
All of that changed once Jesus saw her. One Sabbath day, he called her over to himself and laid his hands on her (Luke 13:12–13). Immediately, she straightened up, something that she had not been able to do for nearly twenty years. What was her response? She began to glorify God. Can’t we imagine the tears of joy and relief she must have cried that day? And wouldn’t we expect those around her—those who knew of her years-long disability—to rejoice with her? Something else happens instead.
The time and place of the woman’s healing angered the ruler of the synagogue. The Jewish leaders in Jesus’s day had imposed strict laws on top of the Mosaic law. Healing on the Sabbath day was considered an act of work and thus prohibited. However, Jesus rebuked the religious leaders and insisted that the Sabbath was the perfect time for this woman’s healing to occur. But Jesus didn’t just call her a woman. He called her a daughter of Abraham.
Notice how Jesus, in a few sentences, showed how valuable this woman was in his sight, calling her a daughter of Abraham. Let’s not miss the significance of this phrase, which certainly wasn’t lost on the religious leaders. The Jews took great pride in being the children of Abraham, nearly considering themselves religious royalty.
Jesus not only showed the value of this woman by healing her, but with one phrase, he revealed her true identity. As a daughter of Abraham, she was entitled to healing and restoration as much as anyone else. And so are we.