Sunday, August 01, 2010

[Matt's Messages] "Set Free By Jesus"

“Set Free by Jesus” 
Certain of Jesus:  The Gospel of Luke
August 1, 2010
Luke 13:10-17

It is so good to be back with you again today!  It’s always fun to go somewhere, but there is no place like home!

And I’ve enjoyed listening to the Word of God at different churches the last few weeks, but I’m so excited to get back to preaching the Word of God here at Lanse Free Church!

I’m rested up and ready to go!

Back to the Gospel of Luke.  Almost a year ago, we started on a journey through the Gospel of Luke which we are calling “Certain of Jesus.”

Back in chapter 1, Luke said that the goal of his gospel was to “write an orderly that you might know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

And we’ve been learning a lot about Jesus.

Today, we’re going to look at one story about Jesus in Luke 13, picking up in verse 10, right where we left off back in June.

This story takes place on a Sabbath, the weekly Jewish day of rest.

And in this story, Jesus does a miracle.  He sets a woman free.  He sets a woman free from a debilitating and crippling handicap.

And she is “Set Free By Jesus.”

Jesus is teaching in one of the synagogues.  This is actually the last time that Jesus is recorded as teaching in one of the Jewish synagogues.

And it’s a Sabbath. The end of the week. The day of rest that God gave to His people.

And there is a woman there who has suffered an incredible amount.  Look at verse 11 again.

“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.”

Can you imagine?

Some of us here struggle with back pain.  And others have other physical ailments and limitations.

This woman didn’t just have a pain in her back. She was bent over double.

The King James Version translates this, “bowed together.”  She was permanently disabled and bent, I don’t know how far down, but enough that her life was constant suffering.

Have you ever tried to take a drink of water from a bent over position?

Every drink of water she took was like that.

Luke says she “could not straighten up at all.”

And this had been her situation for 18 years.

18 years!  Can you imagine?  That is suffering!

And Jesus miraculously relieves her of this suffering.  V.12

“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.”

“Immediately she straightened up and praised God!”

18 years of suffering are over in a moment.

18 years of being bent double are finished with a word and a touch from Jesus.

“Immediately she straightened up and praised God!”


If you and I would have been there, our eyeballs would have just jumped out of their sockets!  And she praised God and the people were delighted that she was set free!

But not all of the people.

There were some people who were mad about this.

Can you imagine that?

It’s hard enough to imagine someone being healed like this.  It’s even harder to imagine someone not liking it.

But that was the case with the synagogue ruler and, apparently, others, most probably the Pharisees.  V.14

“Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, ‘There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.’”

What was this man’s issue?

What day it was.

There are 6 days to do work.  That’s what the Bible says.

So, come to be healed on those days.  Notice that this man doesn’t talk to Jesus.  He skips Jesus and talks to the crowd.

Maybe he didn’t think he could win that one.  And he couldn’t.

Go away and suffer on the Sabbath!  There is time enough for healing on other days.

Follow the Rules!

Well, there is actually no problem with the rules. The problem is that this man didn’t understand what the rules were for!

What the Sabbath was all about!

It was about REST.  Not just the cessation of work.  But REST.

It was for people’s good.  Not a day to prolong suffering!

This man was mad.

I think Jesus gets mad.  Jesus gets mad at his lack of compression and his lack of compassion.  And not just his, but anyone who was thinking the same way.  V.15

“The Lord answered him, ‘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? [They are all tied up. They need a drink. You lead them to water.  And it’s not work.  You untie, you unbind your animal and give them cool refreshment on the Sabbath.  That fits with the Sabbath! V.16]  Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham [not just a beast but a daughter of Abraham, the father of faith, the father of the Jews] whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?’”

This is what the Sabbath is for!

What is more fitting on the day of rest than to provide rest for this woman?

It’s a perfect thing to do on the Sabbath.

To be set free by Jesus.

Now, what does this story have to do with you and me?

Let me suggest three simple points of application for our lives.

#1.  CARE.

The thing that stands out for me the most in this passage is the compassion of Jesus for this woman.

Jesus truly cares about her suffering.

What she was going through mattered to Jesus.

That’s important because Jesus cares about your suffering, too.

Jesus has compassion for you.

Jesus cares about you.

Do you need to hear that this morning?

Jesus cares about you and what’s going on with you.

He has compassion for your suffering.

I just got back from a month of vacation, so I don’t know what’s going on in most of your lives.  I look forward to re-connecting with every single of one you over the next few weeks to check in on you and know what your life is like right now.

But I’m sure that a number of you (all of you?) are going through something difficult right now.  We are fallen people living in a fallen world under a curse.

The Bible says that we will experience suffering as sure as sparks fly upward.

We’ve mentioned a number of difficult situations just this morning during prayer time.

Jesus cares about your suffering.

He knows that it hurts, and He cares.

Sometimes just knowing that can make a huge difference.

My favorite mother-in-law is going through suffering right now.  The Lord has been very gracious to her and extended her life.  Most people who have her rare type of cancer don’t make it through a complete round of chemotherapy. They are normally dead by this point.  But she’s not just alive, she’s thriving.  She got to travel with us and do everything that we did during our vacation and finished her 5th and last chemo treatment. And in a few weeks is planning to go to Hawaii on her 40th wedding anniversary.

At the same time, she’s suffering.  She’s in a good deal of pain and discomfort and the doctors have told her that there is no cure. They can hope for it slow down but that it will catch up with her.

But Linda knows that Jesus cares.

And He cares with all of the authority of the Lord of the Universe.

Do you see all of that authority in Luke 13?  He just says the word and touches this poor woman, and she is immediately, instantly healed.

That’s authority!

Jesus needs that authority because of the enemy that He is battling.

Did you catch why this woman was bound?  Why she was crippled?

Verse 11 says that a spirit had done it for 18 years.  And Jesus lays the cause at Satan’s feet in verse 16.  “Satan has kept [her] bound for eighteen long years.”

There is a hint here of the ongoing battle behind the scenes.

Was this woman’s condition a medical condition or a spiritual one?

That’s a false dichotomy, a false choice.  It’s not either/or.  It’s probably both/and.

In her case especially, her medical condition was the result of a demonic spiritual force at work in her life.

Part of the unseen battle that goes on behind the scenes in all of our lives.

Paul says that our battle is not ultimately with flesh and blood but with the rulers and authorities, the powers of the dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

And Jesus sets His authority against Satan’s authority and wins every time.

Jesus cares.
Jesus cares about your suffering.
Jesus cares whether or not you are bound by Satan.

Jesus cares.

And so should we.

I think the major application of this passage comes not from the healing of the woman, but from the anger of our Savior at the apathy of the synagogue ruler.

He didn’t care.

He didn’t care about this woman, about her suffering, about her predicament.

All he cared about was his rigid application of the rules.

And Jesus said, that’s not the point!

That’s not he point of the Sabbath.

And it’s not the point of the Savior.

Remember back in chapter 4 when Jesus announced His mission?

That happened in a synagogue, too.

He read Isaiah chapter 63

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.’  Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’”

That’s what I’ve come to do.

To set people free.

And if that’s what Jesus cares about.

Then that’s what we should care about, too.

We need to care about people and their suffering.

Who, in your life right now, is suffering, and you need to up the care-quotient?

Who do you need to show the love and compassion of Jesus to right now?

Jesus wants us to care.

People matter so much to Him.

I don’t know how you are supposed to apply this to your life, but I have a few ideas for mine.

We all have people that we’d rather ignore or avoid.

I get the feeling this lady was one of those people for the ruler of this synagogue. 

Maybe he didn’t like looking at her deformity.  Maybe he’d stopped thinking about her as a person. He thought of her as a problem.

That’s how many people think about Muslims right now in our country.

And Mexicans.

In one of the trains that I was in last month, there was graffiti on the wall of the bathroom.  It said, “Stop all immigration now in America.  Muslims and Mexicans get out.”

That was not written in the Spirit of Jesus.

I wanted to say, “You get out!”

Now, both Muslims and Mexicans (and everyone else!) need to obey the laws of our land, including the laws of immigration.

But they are people, not problems.

And Jesus wants us to care about them.  Not just our rules.


People matter to Jesus.

Jesus cares and so should we.

Again.  Who, in your life right now, is suffering, and you need to up the care-quotient?

Who do you need to show the love and compassion of Jesus to right now?

It might be someone you didn’t expect.

It’s so good to know that Jesus cares about us in our suffering! 

And we must pass it on to other people.

#2.  PRAISE.

I’ll bet you expected that one.

Did you see what this woman did the moment she was set free?  V.13

“Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.”

Praise God!

Praise Jesus!

“If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed!”

Praise God!

You know that this being bent over double is just a picture of a greater binding, isn’t it?

It’s a picture of the binding of sin.

Sin is not a small thing that is smaller than suffering.

Sin is bigger than suffering.

Suffering is ultimately caused by sin (not always by individual sins but by the presence of sin in the world from Adam and Eve on).

Sin is big and terrifying and binding.

That’s what Satan wants us to be bound by more than anything else!

But Jesus sets us free from sin.

Jesus died to set us free from sin.

On the Cross, He paid the penalty for our sin.  He took it on Himself.

And for all who turn from their sins and trust in Him, the Savior, He sets free.

And He says in John chapter 8, “If [Jesus] sets you free, you will be free indeed!”

And that gives us every reason to praise Him!

And to live in the freedom that comes from Jesus.


That’s what we did this morning as we sang.

And it’s what we’re going to do in a moment at the Lord’s Table.  Praising God that Jesus has set us free, indeed.

And let me give you #3 and last.

#3.  CHOOSE.

Look again at what happens in v.17 after Jesus blasts the synagogue ruler for his apathy.  V.17

“When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.”

Do you see how there are only two sides?

There is no neutral.

You can’t be on the fence with Jesus. There is no fence.

You are either in or out.

With Him or against Him.

And you have to choose.

And the book of Luke heats up, there is going to be more and more of a separation between those who believe and follow and those who reject and, ultimately, conspire to kill Him.


This woman didn’t have to choose to be set free from her infirmity.

But we have to choose to be set free from our sin.

We have to place our trust in Jesus as Savior and as Lord.

And we have to choose to follow Him.

And make His name known in the world.


There is not neutral.

It’s either delight or humiliation.

We have to choose.

And I say, “Let’s choose Jesus.”

Messages So Far In this Series:

Certain of Jesus
The Back-Story of Jesus
The Birth of Jesus
Jesus - A Very Special Child
Preparing the Way for Jesus
Jesus Is the Son of God
Jesus in Galilee
Jesus and the Sinners
Jesus Brings Real Joy and Rest
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part One
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Two
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Three
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Four
Amazing Jesus
Disappointed with Jesus
Loving Jesus Much
Jesus' Real Family
Jesus Is Lord
Who Is Jesus?
Following Jesus
Sent By Jesus
Q&A With Jesus
Sitting at Jesus' Feet
Jesus Teaches Us to Pray 
Jesus Is Stronger Than Satan
More Blessed Than Jesus' Mom

Being Real with Jesus
Jesus and Our Stuff
Be Ready for Jesus' Return
Jesus and Tragedies