Sermon #924 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: Cured at Last!
Mercy Found in the House of Prayer
Text: Luke 13:10-17
Subject: Christ’s healing of the woman bowed down
Date: Sunday morning – August 19, 1990
Our Lord’s miracles were intended to be types of his mercy and grace. When he healed the ailments of men’s bodies, he was showing that he has power to cure the maladies of our souls. When he raised the dead, he was showing us that he, who is the resurrection and the life, ahs power to give spiritual, eternal life to those who are dead in trespasses and sins. When he multiplied the loaves and fishes, gathered fish into the empty nets of his toiling disciples, and caused a con to be found in the mouth of a fish, he was teaching us that he has the power to provide our every need in this world. And when he spoke peace to the troubled sea and walked across the water to his disciples, he was teaching us that he who rules the world rules the storms of our lives, and when our souls are in trouble he will come to us to comfort us. Whenever we read of miracles performed by Christ, the believing heart should always see in the miracle a message of mercy. Our Lord, by leaving us the record of these things, is saying to us, “As I have worked glorious things upon the earth in the days of my flesh, I will surely work even more glorious things for you in my exaltation.” Today, I want us to look at one of our Savior’s great miracles, praying that the Spirit of God will be our Teacher. Read with me Luke 13:10-17. The title of my message is “Cured at Last!” or, Mercy Found in the House of Prayer.”
As our Lord Jesus Christ met this poor woman in the synagogue and raised her up from her long and painful infirmity, he now meets sinners in the assembly of his saints and raises those who are bowed down by his almighty grace. May it please him, whose name is Jehovah-Rapha, to repeat his work of grace in our midst today.
I hold before you today this woman, whose name I do not know, as an example of what the Lord Jesus Christ can do for you. Let me show you five things about this woman. As we look at this woman and what she experienced, I pray that we will see Christ in the glory of his saving grace.
1. Her condition (vv. 11, 16).
2. Her conduct (vv. 10-11).
3. Her cure (vv. 12-13).
4. Her conflict (v. 14).
5. Her comfort (vv. 15-17).
I. Her Condition (vv. 11, 16).
On the Sabbath day the Lord Jesus could always be found in the synagogue, or in the temple teaching. He was in his element in the house of God. And he was most happy when he was declaring to men the things of God. In order to confirm the doctrine he taught and to illustrate it, he performed a great miracle of mercy. There is no other case exactly like this one mentioned in the Scriptures. Therefore, Luke calls our attention to it with the word, “Behold!”
We are not told precisely what was wrong with this woman, only that she was “bowed together,” that her condition was caused by satan binding her, that she had been bowed together for 18 years, and that, “she could in no wise lift herself up.”
I am certain that this woman’s infirmity was not only physical, but spiritual as well. Her outward appearance was an index of her inward torment. The appearance of her body was a picture of her soul. She was bowed together.
“Spiritual deformity assumes many forms, and each form is painful to look upon” (C. H. Spurgeon). Imagine for a moment that every person here appeared outwardly to be what he is inwardly, as this woman did. Suppose that your physical appearance were a reflection of your inward state. This place would be a truly pitiful place!
· There is a dead corpse.
· Over here is a paralyzed man with trembling faith.
· Over there is a woman with fits of passion and despair.
· Back there is a man with flashes of fever and chills.
· Up here is a person with a convulsing heart, torn between heaven and earth.
Here, assembled in this Bethesda, is a multitude of sick folk, poor, lame, broken, halt, maimed, and impotent. But this is the house of God. And the Lord Jesus is in our midst. He is here in mercy to relieve our miseries.
This poor woman is our text was probably unnoticed in the crowd. Being bowed together, she was dwarfed in size. It appears that she regularly attended the synagogue. So the people there had become hardened to her condition. They paid her no attention. But the Son of God saw her, had compassion on her and healed her. And here she is held up as an example of grace.
A. This woman’s condition is a picture of every lost sinner.
· She was bowed together (Eccles. 7:29). Blessed is the person who is bowed together in heart by reason of sin!
· She had been in this horrible deformity for a long, long time – “In Adam all died!”
· Her misery was the work of satan.
· “She could in no wise lift herself up” (Jer. 13:23).
Though she was a prisoner, she was a prisoner of hope. Though she could not lift herself up, she was in the presence of One who could lift her up. And she had hope because he had lifted up many before her.
· The Leper (Lk. 5:12-13).
· The Paralyzed Man (Lk. 5:18-26).
· The Unclean Multitudes (Lk. 6:18-19).
· The Centurion’s Servant (Lk. 7:1-10).
· The Widow’s Son (Lk. 7:11-17).
· The Demon Possessed Women (Lk. 8:2-3).
· The Gadarene (Lk. 8:26-36).
· Jairus’ Daughter (Lk. 8:41-42).
· The Woman with the Issue of Blood (Lk. 8:43-48).
10.The Ruler of the Synagogue’s Daughter (Lk. 8:49-56).
11.As Many as had need of healing (Lk. 9:11).
12.The Demon Possessed Man (Lk. 9:42).
This woman must have reasoned, ”If this Man, who has healed so many others, is pleased to do so, he can heal me too!” And I tell you all that Christ, who has saved this rag-tag bunch, can save you too.
B. This woman’s condition is also a picture of many of God’s saints in this world.
Without question, this woman was a believer, a saved woman, one who worshipped and served the true and living God, though she was sorely afflicted in the providence of God by the hand of satan. How do I know that she was a child of God?
· There is no mention of her, as in other places, of forgiveness. She already enjoyed that.
· Our Lord said she was “a daughter of Abraham,” an Israelite indeed.
The fact is, many of God’s dear people in this world are like this poor woman, “bowed together,” being afflicted and bound, in a sense, by satan, having “a spirit of infirmity.” Some of you here know what I am talking about.
NOTE: Satan did not possess her, but he did afflict her.
1. She had lost all her natural brightness and cheerfulness.
No doubt, as a girl she was as smiling, sparkle-eyed and happy as anyone. But gradually there crept over her body an infirmity, which dragged her face downward, until at last she was bowed together.
Illustration: Robert Cox.
Now, for eighteen years, she had walked with her face toward the earth, as if she were looking for a grave. It had been eighteen years since she had…
· Seen the noonday sun.
· Looked upon a singing bird in the trees.
· Beheld the star-lit sky.
She was bowed down with a spirit of infirmity.
Are you like this poor soul, perpetually bowed down? Perhaps you remember happier days, but now you are bowed together in the melancholy spirit of infirmity. It has been a long, long time since you have been able to…
· Enter into sweet communion with God.
· Behold the face of your Beloved.
· Enjoy the peace, comfort, and joy of faith.
In your inmost soul you pine for him whose presence is your happiness.
“Where is the blessedness I knew
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the sweet refreshing view
Of Jesus in His Word?
What blissful hours I then enjoyed,
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill!”
2. This woman, being bowed together, was bowed toward herself, bowed toward that which is most depressing.
By some unexplainable mystery, depression breeds depression, grief multiplies, and a melancholy spirit is a legion in number. And the more you are bowed down to look to yourself, the more bowed down you will be.
My friend, you will never find peace, assurance, and joy in Christ by looking to yourself. Our Savior never admonishes us to look to ourselves, but to him (Isa. 45:22; Heb. 12:1-2).
NOTE: Any religion that sets you looking to yourself is nothing but a snare of satan.
3. Next, we are told that this poor soul “could in no wise lift up herself.”
No need to blame her for her condition. One of her older sisters may have scolded her for her condition when she began to stoop, saying, “Sister, you must not give in to your feelings. Straighten up, or you will become stooped and deformed.” What good advice some people can give!
This poor woman was bound by satan. And when satan binds the soul it is as truly bound as when a man snares an eagle and binds it. This woman was bound to herself! All the advice, counsel, and preaching in the world could not lift her up. And she could not lift herself up, though she wanted to do so with all her heart.
Note: Her free-will could not change her condition!
4. Worst of all, she had been bowed down for eighteen years.
Eighteen years! That is a long, long time. Eighteen years of happiness fly by more swiftly than we are able to fathom. Eighteen years of happiness is a short span of time. But eighteen years of misery, eighteen years of pain, eighteen years of being bowed down, who can measure that? Eighteen long years, each year dragging twelve miserable months behind it, each month pulling four heavy weeks, each week loaded with seven gloomy days, and each day loaded down with twenty-four grueling, painful, lonely hours! What grief! This woman had been in the bond of the devil for eighteen years, bowed together!
It may be that I am talking to one who has been bowed down in spirit for a long, long time. Your inner despondency, your soul’s constant unrest is an affliction no one can understand. If you are such, hear me a little further – This woman’s cure came in a moment. The chain, which it took satan eighteen years to forge, the Son of God broke in an instant!
NOTE: Though she was in such a miserable condition for such a long, long time, all the while she was a child of Abraham. Her heart was right with God.
II. Her Conduct (vv. 10-11).
This poor woman, bowed together as she was, in body and in spirit was in the house of prayer on the Sabbath day. And it was while she was there in the house of prayer, that she found the liberty she craved in her soul. For eighteen years she had come to the house of God in excruciating pain and gone home again in torment. But on this day she was cured. Mercy was found in the house of prayer.
There was nothing about her life, and nothing in her spiritual condition, to give her comfort. And she could not lift herself up. But she could go to the house of God. She could worship God. Even in her misery, she honored God. And God always honors them that honor him. She came to the house o prayer, because everything she needed was to be found there.
A. The Lord was there.
B. His Word was there.
C. His people were there.
D. His instruction was to be found there.
E. His mercy was to be found there.
This woman, who might have been reasonably excused for not attending the worship of God, made it her business to be in the house of God on the day of public worship. What is your excuse for neglecting it?
III. Her Cure (vv. 12-13).
Look at how Luke describes this woman’s cure. She had been bound by satan for eighteen years. But Christ came to set her free. And this is how he did it.
A. “Jesus saw her.”
B. “He called her to him.” “Just as I am.”
Illustration: The artist and the beggar.
C. He said to her, “Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.”
D. “He laid his hands on her” – His nail pierced hands – His almighty hands – His tender hands – “He touched me!”
E. “Immediately she was made straight.”
Man can never make straight that which God has made crooked. But the Son of God can easily make straight what sin and satan have made crooked.
F. As soon as she was cured, she “glorified God!”
NOTE: The Lord permitted satan to afflict the child of his love for eighteen years, so that she might glorify him forever. Her deep sorrow, when it was over, made her song most sweet. Do you see how that God overrules evil for good?
IV. Her Conflict (v. 14).
No sooner was one trial over than another began. As soon as this woman was healed, she was involved in great conflict with a self-righteous, religious hypocrite. This man was upset because this woman was healed on the Sabbath day! The Sabbath day was a day of rest. And now, for the first time in eighteen years, this poor soul was at rest. But this legalist could not stand it.
· Legalism is hard. The legalist is more concerned for laws, rules, customs, and days than he is for the needs of human beings.
· Legalism is haughty. The legalist is always proud and self-righteous.
· Legalism is hypocrisy. Every man who pretends to live by the law of God is a hypocrite.
V. Her Comfort (vv. 15-17).
The Lord Jesus tenderly comforted his beloved child by three things:
A. He answered her adversary (v. 15).
B. He assured her of her acceptance (v. 16).
C. He allowed her to be an instrument for the glory of God (v. 17).
Application: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 19-20; Romans 10:13