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The woman needed a miracle, but she didn’t ask for one. She may have cowered in the back of the synagogue, hoping no one would notice she’d come that day. After all, who wanted to look at a disfigured woman, bent over and unable to straighten up? (Luke 13:11).

But Jesus saw her, and he called her to come forward. “Dear woman,” he said, “you are set free from your infirmity” (v. 12). And immediately she straightened her back and stood tall—something she hadn’t done for eighteen years.

She rejoiced. Most of the crowd was delighted. But the Pharisees were indignant. “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath,” they said (v. 14).

Don’t Miss The Point

Once again the Pharisees missed the point. Jesus, the Messiah, was not bound by the Pharisees’ oppressive interpretations of and additions to the Mosaic Law.

Compassion motivated Jesus to challenge the legalistic burden the Pharisees had lain on every Jew.[i] And compassion compelled Jesus to remove the woman’s physical burden that Sabbath day (v. 16).

Jesus came to set people free. Physical healings were visual signs of his power to free people from all that held them in bondage—especially the sin that separated them from God: “Through [Jesus] everyone who believes is set free from every sin” (Acts 13:39).

Are You In The Shadows

Are you, like the woman, cowering in the shadows—reluctant to even ask Jesus to remove your burden? Have years of experience with people like the Pharisees made you think you’re unworthy of Jesus’s attention, undeserving of his love?

Look To Jesus

Don’t focus on your burden or your critics. Look to Jesus. He is calling your name and beckoning you to come. Allow him to set you free. Then stand tall, rejoice, and share with others the life-transforming power and message of the Messiah.



Next Step:

Read this woman’s story in Luke 13 and Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-30. What burdens have prompted you to cower in the shadows? Write them down and then offer them to Jesus one by one.


[i] The Pharisees had added “literally thousands of new commandments that were created to clarify the original 613 commandments” of the Mosaic Law. For example, to the Sabbath law, 39 separate categories of what ‘work’ meant were added that led to thousands of sub-rules, including how many steps a person could take and how many letters could be written.

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Denise Loock

Author Denise Loock

Denise Loock is the author of two devotional books that highlight the scriptural truths of classic hymns and gospel songs, Open Your Hymnal and Open Your Hymnal Again. She is the founder of Dig Deeper Devotions, a website that encourages Christians of all ages to dig deeper into the Word of God. She also speaks at conference centers, luncheons, and retreats.

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