Miracles · Supernatural

Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus #30 – Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman

After my series on the parables, I found I was drawn to look into the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels. I have never studies the mighty works of Jesus as a focused effort before and am looking forward to finding nuggets of truth that we can be encouraged by.

I have provided a general introduction, with an opportunity to download two files for your reference in my initial post Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction. I found that the format I used for the parable posts were useful to keep me on track, and will continue to use them for this series, with some minor tweaks. With that said, let’s take a look at

Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman

Luke 13:10-17

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

General Observations

At this point in the Lord’s ministry, things were getting pretty tense, to say the least. The Pharisees were plotting and the Romans had noticed Him. He had become well known in northern galilee and the news had spread. His appearance in Jerusalem on the feast days had only added to the fervor about Him.

And we find Him in synagogue. In the region of Judea. With the ruler of the synagogue inviting Him to teach. Did not the ruler hear of the potential for “divisive teaching” coming from this Rabbi? Surely the congregation had heard of His fame. We aren’t supplied with the teaching He was providing, yet it must have been about the kingdom of God and His person. His identity was on display in the synagogue, since the Word was being taught and the Word speaks of Him.

The conditions were ripe for an incident!

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

As mentioned earlier, the audience is a faithful Jewish congregation in a synagogue, with the disciples. Although the disciples are not mentioned in the text, I assume they were with Him. Also present, the ruler of the synagogue and a poor nameless woman who was bent over.

When did the Lord perform this mighty work?

See https://www.bibletimelines.net/timelines/jesus-ministry

Where did the Lord perform this mighty work?

See Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction for downloadable reference file.

Why did the Lord perform this mighty work?

He saw the woman bent over and called her. The text simply states He saw her. He noticed her, and acted. He called her to come to Him, presumably in the middle of His teaching. He interrupted His teaching time to minister to a lone woman. A woman who was bent over, most likely a woman who had little possessions, since she was cripple, who may have had very little influence, for she was bent over, a woman who had little importance, for she was a cripple. She was a nobody, with Luke not even providing her a personal name.

But she is called by Jesus, and He refers to her later as a “daughter of Abraham”. All Jews considered themselves children of Abraham, so this may have been unsurprising, especially since she was in synagogue. But let us consider how Jesus used this term, for He definitely did not relate to the Jewish population with this assumption. He actually debated with some of the leaders of the Pharisees over their lineage, and linked them to the very enemy He released this woman from.

She was a daughter of Abraham in Jesus eyes, yet was bound by Satan. In the Jewish leadership, they considered themselves children of Abraham, yet they were controlled by the enemy, seeking to kill the very Messiah. How upside down!

Things are simply not as they appear when it comes to Jesus and His ways. A discerning heart and a patient spirit is required to understand the situations we find our selves in, and few are the times when I stop to consider. As my wife is so fond of saying – Man looks on the outward appearance, but God judges the heart.

Jesus saw a woman who was a true believer, bound by Satan and determined to release her of her burden. He had, as far as I can tell, no requirement to perform this miracle, other than hearing the voice of His Father. But come on, – to perform it on the Sabbath was like poking the ruler in the eye. But I am getting ahead of myself.

What was the message for the original audience?

The audience in Judea saw a woman bent over for decades, stand up straight. Did the congregation know of this woman’s suffering of 18 years? We do not know if she was a regular attendee of the synagogue, yet I assume she was due to a number of factors. Jesus called her a daughter of Abraham, indicating a faithful Jew. Due to her disability, she most likely resided near this synagogue, since travel would be an onerous task for her. Also, the synagogue ruler did not address her as an intruder or was surprised by her presence. Although this is an argument from silence, once the miracle happened, the ruler sought some way to debunk it. If she was a visitor, he may have simply called on the woman as an imposter, a faker, yet this was never brought up.

What was brought up, by the ruler was that this was the common people’s fault, they were sinning by coming for healing on the Sabbath.


I sometimes feel sorry for those Jewish leaders, committed to their understanding of Sabbath keeping during the days of Jesus. They trusted in writings that extended the purpose of the Word to unsupportable conclusions.

I recently read that during Sabbath, the leaders established that a man could walk no further than a half mile from his home. In order to get around this man made rule, a faithful Jew would take a bit of food and deposit it near a stone or tree a half mile from his home previous to his travels. On the Sabbath, he could then travel to the same spot, retrieve his food and travel another half mile. For you see, the food established that place as his home, temporary as it was, but it supplied a way to ignore even their own rules. What a mess!

Getting back to the ruler, by this time I imagine He knew of the skill and power of the Lord in debate and did not attack Him, but the crowd. Read it again..

But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.”

Have you ever been in a service, or in discussion with a religious person and come away feeling like everything is your fault, that the religious person is faultless and convincingly shifts the problem onto your shoulders. This congregation was under a ruler that was a blame shifter, a weak man that would would not address his concern directly with the Master, and expressed his frustration (indignation) with the miracle performing Messiah on those to whom he “ministered” to.

This is outrageous, and is such a common occurrence nowadays. But again, I am getting ahead of myself.

His statement to the people leads me to believe he had miraculous healing powers also, for he surely had healing meetings on the other six days of the week. He surely was a mighty man of ministry, that provided relief and restoration on the other six days of the week. Am I reading too much into the text? How could he have said such foolishness? Like I said, I sometimes feel sorry for the religious leaders, for they have boxed themselves into a position that is indefensible.

Yet the Master defended the congregation by addressing the ruler directly, with a harshness that becomes more apparent as we follow Him into Jerusalem for His passion.

Hypocrite! (Sometimes I just wanna cheer Him on, until it settles on my mind that I am more like the ruler than like Him.)

Jesus enters into a logical argument with the ruler. He refers to their own teaching and shows the logical inconsistency of the ruler, of their greed and self centeredness, of the ruler’s unloving spirit towards their own congregation. He hits them hard with truth, based on their own teachings.

But let me ask you something. Do you see Him at this time as a finger pointing, voice raising, red faced brawler, looking to take the ruler out? Is he wearing His feelings on his shirtsleeve, for all to see? I ask for I have always assumed He also is indignant with the ruler, as the ruler is indignant with the situation, but this is not necessarily true. The text simply states “the Lord answered him…”

The Lord answered him. He communicated a logical response to the ruler, based on their own teaching, exposing the rulers inconsistencies. Would yelling at the ruler add to the power of the argument? The truth is powerful, and the addition of rage, anger or frustration may not provide greater effect.

The ruler unbound his animal on the sabbath in order to provide the animal the basics of life. The Ruler (of all) unbound his follower on the sabbath to provide her relief, freedom and deliverance from an ungodly influence.

Where is the problem here? For those who do not need to defend a contrived religious position, and are willing to consider a logical argument based on revealed truth, the message is clear. He is the Ruler, and has the right to perform His mighty works of release and deliverance whenever He chooses!

What is the message for us today?

Blame shifting

The ruler attacked the congregation. He blamed those he was charged with caring for. They needed to come to the Monday healing service to be healed. This is incredible, for it seems obvious that there was no healing service held, for the cripple woman was cripple still. Yet he reverted to this argument, since a fundamental doctrine he loved was slighted. How blind to a miracle can a man be, when his response is voicing his obligation to defend a teaching instead of realizing what happened in front of his very eyes.

How many times have you been in a meeting, and come away thinking you are the problem. The church isn’t growing because you are not doing something right, you are not working hard enough, or at the right ministry, or providing sufficient funds, or praying enough or or or….

We have much to be responsible for, and we need to follow His leading, yet I fear some “rulers” in our churches seek to blame shift problems onto their parishioners. Please don’t hear me that we are free from responsibilities to be faithful to the Master – that is not the issue. The issue is who are you listening to? Are you accepting everything your church leadership is feeding you? Or are you listening for the Spirit, confirming the Word in your circumstances?

Emotional response

In an effort to support religious fallacies and inconsistencies, some “rulers” may resort to an emotionally laden message. You know the type, where the man behind the pulpit raises and lowers his voice, yells at the devil or cries uncontrollably.

How often have you been gripped with the emotion of a preacher, and left your mind behind? Personally, I find this style of preaching to be generally lacking in substance, and I walk away, at least mentally. I raised a bunch of chillun that presented their cases with screaming, crying or yelling. It didn’t impress me then, and it certainly doesn’t impress me now. This style of communication (through intimidation or emotional manipulation) is a common method for salesmen to close a deal, for that mattress salesman to get you to sign on the dotted line. It does not reflect, in my opinion, the gracious nature of the Lord, and the fact that truth in inherently powerful on its own!

This is so very common in todays modern church, emotional appeals to “do better” based on little more than a popular religious theme of the culture. These methods bring no lasting fruit to the church, only providing fodder for those who would mock the church.

Let each of us quietly listen to the Spirit, grapple with the Word (for there are many questions to understand) and peaceably attend to the Christian teachers we allow ourselves to be influenced by. Of course, you control who you are being influenced by – so this may be an appropriate time for you to consider the value of those you attend to.

Be a Berean. They were checking out the teaching of the apostles – We can surely check out mere ministers and pastors, if what they are feeding us complies with the Word.

Act 17 10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea,…… 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Don’t let a ruler intimidate or influence you with anything other than the naked hard truth of the Word. Stand up straight when it comes to who you will listen to, and do not bend to those who seek to influence you through intimidation or emotional appeals.

The truth is worth standing for. He is good, all the time!

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion. If you know someone this blog may bless (or challenge), send them a link, so they may join us in our discussion

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