How do you break free from an infirmity that has kept you bound for 18 long years? Every healing story of Jesus in the bible is unique and comes with its own peculiar lessons. And one of those unforgettable stories is that of breaking free, the woman who was bound for 18 years.
Here was a woman who was bent completely forward and utterly unable to straighten herself up or look forward. But interestingly, her story begins with this sentence: Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath.
Who was the Woman that was bent over in the bible?
Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And there was a woman there who for 18 years had an infirmity caused by a spirit (a demon of sickness). She was bent completely forward and utterly unable to straighten herself up or look forward. – Luke 13:10-11 AMP
She was a woman crippled by a spirit of infirmity. Some other translations refer to it as a disabling spirit (ESV), a “sickness caused by a spirit” (NASB). The Greek word for infirmity astheneia is described as the following: want of strength, weakness, illness, suffering, calamity, frailty. It refers to an ailment that deprives someone of enjoying or accomplishing what they would like to do. (Strong’s concordance).
Luke the physician goes on to tell us that she was bent forward completely and unable to strengthen herself up or even look forward. All she could see were the feet of others moving as she stood or walked. She is one of the unnamed in the bible with no solid information about her life and family. We do not know if she was married or had children. What we do know is that her sickness had kept her bound for many years.
Can you imagine being bent over for such a long time and unable to stand upright like you and me? Her pain must have been intense, not to forget the physical and emotional trauma she was experiencing. She had become an object of ridicule everywhere she went, and her sight brought laughter to the mouths of children.
This infirmity left her physically and mentally weak. She had become a stranger to her world and slowly carried herself through life with no one to help her. She aged physically by the day and hated what was left of her outward appearance. Her self-esteem had been ripped apart and nothing was left of her worth and dignity.
She is that woman who was a pathetic picture of the bondage that comes with satanic oppression. No one talked to her about her pain, rather she may have been mocked and judged by others around her. And who knows, her condition may have crippled her thought process and everywhere she went, what she looked like was thrown back at her – ‘the bent over woman. This was her new identity. This was her pain. This was her dilemma.
Jesus and the Bent Over Woman
And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him. – Luke 13:12a
One of the greatest discoveries you will ever make in life is knowing that you still have the power of choice irrespective of how pathetic life has been. This woman chose the places she went to, and the synagogue may have been like a place of refuge for her. Weak and bound over, yet she returned there every week. Could it be that in this place, she seemed to find some peace and stability in her mind.
But on this sabbath day, things played out differently. A man named Jesus was teaching in the synagogue. I am guessing that the building may have been packed out. People sitting and standing at all corners. She listened as he taught and then the strangest thing happens as this teacher calls her out.
Perhaps trembling and wondering why Jesus chose to call her out from the many people present. She could barely look forward and all she did was listen. This was a different call, because for 18 years, no one had called her out or even cared to know about her pain and struggles. And even though she knew all eyes would be on her, this woman who was bent over found the courage and responded to Jesus’s call.
She disregarded the peering eyes and murmuring lips and made this long painful walk to the teacher who had called her. Even though a spirit of infirmity had crippled her physically and mentally, her spirit was not crippled. She still had the ability to respond to a call. She still found that courage and humility buried deep within her even though she did not know what would happen. So, with all the strength she had left in her, she walked to Jesus.
“Your body maybe caged but your spirit can never be caged” – Sola Olubode
Dear friend, in the face of life’s storms, remember that you still have the power to choose your response. How will you respond to what life throws at you? Take a deep look within you and find that courage and will to keep moving.
Her Conversation with Jesus
And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, woman thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid hands on her; and immediately she was made straight and glorified God. – Luke 13:12 -13
Was he a savior? Who was he and why did he call her out? Some of these may have been the conversations going on in her head as she walked to Jesus. ‘I do not know who you are, and I have never met you before, but you called me and now I am here before you.’
And Jesus said to her, woman you are loosed from thine infirmity.
Jesus did not only see this woman, but he also released her from 18 years of bondage. He confronted the powers behind her captivity and all that had kept her in that bondage for so long. Jesus said to her:
Woman, you are free from all that has crippled you mentally and physically. You are free from every limitation that has kept you stagnant and looking down on yourself all your life. You are free from this disease that has left you battered and weak. You are delivered today from this oppression that has left you bruised. (Paraphrase)
And this is why Jesus came to die for us. He came to set the captives free. The bible boldly declares that Jesus went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil. While the devil’s mission is to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came with a different mission to give us the God kind of life, a life free from the oppression and harassment of Satan and his agents.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity]. – Luke 4:18
Here are four things Jesus did to this woman who was bound for 18 years.
1. Jesus saw her and gave her a new identity. (He called her daughter of Abraham)
2. Jesus called her to come to him and set her free from every oppression and bondage in her life.
3. Jesus spoke life to her and flooded her inner man with his love and life. ( He called her woman)
4. Jesus touched her and made her whole again by bringing restoration and joy into her life.
Then he laid his hands on her and instantly she was made straight, and she recognized and thanked and praised God.- Luke 13:13
When Jesus saw her condition, he called her to him and gently laid his hands on her. Then he said, “Dear woman, you are free. I release you forever from this crippling spirit.” Instantly she stood straight and tall and overflowed with glorious praise to God! – Luke 13:13 TPT
Jesus touched the bent over woman and gave her a new life. Touching her meant identifying with her, and when he did, he gave her a new life, a new mind, and a new body. And immediately she was made straight and tall able to see a new future and embrace new purpose and dreams for her life.
She was a woman who was travelling through life in her pain and misery. Bound over and crying out loud within for life. Jesus became life to her. He spoke to her infirmity and set her free. She met a stranger teaching in the synagogue and discovered that he was God. She had a short conversation with Jesus and was instantly set free.
What We Can Learn from the Woman who was Bent Over in the Bible?
1. Show Gratitude and Give Glory to God
Then He laid his hands on her, and instantly she was made straight, and she recognized and thanked and praised God. – Luke 13:13
We can clearly see this woman’s heart shine out through her action following her deliverance. Not only did she acknowledge the one who had healed her, her heart overflowed with glorious praise to God. How many times have you failed to acknowledge the many miracles God has done in your life?
Do you show gratitude to God for the good works he has done and still does in your life? Do you remember to praise him for his provision and protection over you and all that is dear to you?
This woman glorified God despite the critical looks around her. She freely expressed her gratitude and celebrated her deliverance. She shouted, danced and praised God. How are you celebrating God’s goodness and favor in your life today?
2. Find Courage and respond to God’s Call
Jesus called this woman to come to him. When Jesus called her, he did not put a name to that call. He simply just called her to him. It could have been anybody. It was when she came to him, he called her woman. There may have been many sick people there that day, many who needed deliverance, but she was the only one who found courage to respond to his call.
When he called her to him, only a woman whose condition was obvious for all to see, found courage to respond to that call. Have you been badly broken and battered in life? Are you held captive by the chains of addiction and abuse? Jesus is calling you today into a life of hope, peace and abundance.
Sit still and listen because Jesus has a word for you today. Believe what he says and trust him. This is your freedom. Will you find courage and respond to the call of Jesus today? Know that you are forever welcome in his presence.
3. Embrace God’s Touch.
Then He laid his hands on her, and instantly she was made straight – Luke 13:13a
This woman embraced God’s touch and broke free from the chains that had held her captive. Throughout the bible, we see God’s outstretched arms of love and compassion towards men. Jesus laid hands on the sick to heal many. He touched little children and blessed them. He touched Jairus daughter and raised her back to life. He touched the leper and blind. Even when Peter was sinking as he tried to walk on water, Jesus reached out to hold his hand.
Jesus touched the unclean, impure and most untouchable of people. And his touch always restored life to broken and gave light to dark places.
“And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand … and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands upon him, he asked him ‘Do you see anything?” – Mark 8:33
He touched a boy tormented by demons, had epileptic seizures, who convulsed and lay as dead: “But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose”- Mark 9:27
God wants to touch you through his word and in the place of prayer today. He wants to touch, save and give you eternal life. He wants to touch you and break strongholds, barriers and limitations in your life. The bible says this about God’s word in Proverbs 4:22
“For they are life to those who find them, And healing and health to all their flesh.”
God’s touch will bring about mental, physical and spiritual liberation in your life today. Will you embrace God’s touch today?
Father, I know you see me and know all that is going on in my life right now. Open my heart and spirit to hear your voice. Give me the courage to respond to your call. Lord, heal me and deliver me from every form of bondage and oppression in my life. I am a daughter of God and I declare that I am set free today. Amen!
- In what areas of your life have you been held captive? Do a soul search. (Mindsets, Identity, Thoughts, Emotions)
- What is God calling you to do today? What is holding you back from responding to God’s call of hope, freedom and purpose in your life?
- Take a moment today and write down those things God has done for you that you failed to show gratitude for. Take it further and give him glory for the things he will do and has promised you in his word.
Read more from the series: