By Jimmy R. Mickells
“Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God” (Luke 13:10-13).
This woman is nameless to you and me, but one that I think we can learn some valuable lessons from. Whatever her infirmity was, it had caused her to be unable to straighten up and had afflicted her for eighteen years. Notice with me at least three things we can learn from the life of this sick woman.
Her illness did not stop her from serving God. In verse 10, the text says that Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. This is where He met her. Though she couldn’t raise herself up, she was still present on the Sabbath in the Jewish house of worship to serve her God. Don’t you suppose she could have offered an excuse such as, “I’m just not able to get around very good, my back is hurting and so I think I’ll stay home today”? Yet, she did not do that! Do we sometimes let an ache or pain keep us from attending worship service? Would that same sickness keep us from going to work on Monday? I have seen on numerous occasions a child sick on Sunday and both parents stay home, missing both worship services on the Lord’s Day. Then on Monday, if the child is still sick, only one parent will attend to his/her needs, the other will be off to work. How devoted are we to serve our Lord? This woman did not let this illness stop her from serving the One whom she loved.
Her example of faith led to her healing. On a number of occasions in the gospels, we see people approaching our Lord, asking Him to heal them. In this instance, she did not ask to be healed, but the Lord looked and spoke to her, saying “you are loosed from your infirmity.” If we will put the Lord first, He will supply the things that we need in this life (Matthew 6:33). Not only will our needs be supplied, but often great blessings, above and beyond our necessities, flow from His bountiful hands. The greatest need for mankind is healing from sin. He is always ready and willing to cure, but we must approach Him to be forgiven. Not by grace only (Ephesians 2:8). Not by faith only (James 2:24). Not by baptism only (Acts 2:38). It is a combination of grace, faith, and obedience to the will of God that through His mercy we can be saved. If you have the kind of faith this woman had, you will obedient to your Creator, and He will heal you as well.
Once healed, she glorified God. The word glorified is defined as, “to praise, extol, magnify, celebrate” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 157). Here was a lady who was extremely thankful to her Lord for what He had done for her. Ingratitude is a grave sin. When Jesus healed the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19), only one returned to glorify God (vv. 15,16). He asked, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?” (v. 17). Only the one lowly Samaritan returned to bow and give thanks to the One that made him whole. How many times have you and I been healed? Are we truly thankful to the Lord for all His blessings? Do we show it by our actions? May we never be guilty of ingratitude! Let each of us follow the example of this sick lady.
There are only three verses in the entire Bible that mention this nameless sick woman, but what a powerful example she is to all who will read this account. May we live our lives in such a way, even if others do not know our names, in crossing their paths, we can be such an example to them. You never know who is watching.