Three Captivating Ways Jesus Loves His Children
After my third child was born I decided to start running to lose the last of the baby weight. You have to understand I was not an athlete as a kid. In fact, I had never run a mile without walking. When we ran the mile in high school gym class, I finished dead last and the coach looked worried and concerned at my beet red face. So, for me to pick up running was extraordinary. I started slowly and worked up to three miles. I ran my first 5k race and was so proud of myself. Ultimately, I ran several 5ks, several 10ks and some 5-mile races as well.
As I was lining up before a 5-mile race, I recognized a woman I knew. I hadn’t known she was a runner. We chatted for a few minutes. When I mentioned the speed at which I had been training (a slow pace), she said how great it was I had trained for the race. She hadn’t been training at all. So here she was, just showing up to run 5 miles. I on the other hand had taken months to train for this event.
This conversation completely deflated me. All the struggle, all the mini-goals I had set and reached, how pleased and proud of myself I had been, were all floating away in that early morning sky. Now, please know this woman had no idea. She had no intention of insulting me, or trying to impress me with her accomplishments. I was the one being judgmental. As she walked away, I was the one beating myself up, allowing discouragement to set in. I was the one who decided my accomplishments weren’t good enough. I was the one who called myself a failure.
I think we’ve all felt judgment from others. It’s a common human experience. Some of us, though, also get judgment from ourselves, and that can be the harshest judgment of all.
In Luke 13, Jesus has an incredible interaction with a woman who had been suffering with a physical ailment for years. A spirit had crippled her so that she could not stand up for 18 years. She was forced to look down because of the angle of her spine. This woman showed up where Jesus was teaching. I imagine getting there and fighting the crowds might not have been easy for her. She seems to have had some hope that the rumors about the healing powers of this man might be true.
Jesus was teaching in the synagogue. In a crowd of people, a woman who was bent over might have been difficult to see. For Jesus to see her and seek her out of the crowd is remarkable. Luke 13 tells us what Jesus did:
Jesus saw her
Literally it would have been hard to see her. She was physically small, she couldn’t have made strong eye contact and the crowd would have surrounded her.
But Jesus did more than see her literally. He saw her figuratively too. He saw her trouble. He saw her pain. He saw her desire for healing. He saw her faith. He saw her hope. He saw her heart.
Jesus called her
Out of the crowd he picks this woman to come forward. If you look back in Luke a few chapters and forward in Luke a few chapters, you will notice that this healing sits in the middle of long passages of teaching by Jesus and parables illustrating his points. He takes a break from teaching to perform a healing. Jesus wasn’t just needing a break, he was using this healing to illustrate his teaching. He knows that the Pharisees are watching and that because it is the Sabbath, they will object.
Jesus calls her over because he wants to heal her. But he also has a plan for a bigger purpose. Her life will teach others in the room. Her life will be inspiration for many women through history. Her story will end up in the Bible and be preserved for generations.
She may have wondered why at times. Why was she forced to live this way for 18 years? When Jesus called her from the crowd, he also placed a calling on her life. She had purpose!
Jesus spoke to her
He had a point to make to the crowd in the middle of his teaching. But, Jesus also cared for the heart of this weary woman. He saw her physical needs as well as her spiritual and emotional needs. He healed them all with his words.
For the next few weeks we will continue to dig into this passage. Truth fills this short story and I think you will be blessed by its beauty! Here is what I want you to remember today:
1. Jesus sees you. He sees your physical needs and he sees your heart needs. He understands how you feel, he gets your pain. Don’t forget that he knows every tear you shed and why. For more on how God heals our hearts and mends our pain: How Messy, Mended, Fishing Nets Give Me Hope
2. Jesus calls you. He has a purpose for your life. The purpose includes not just the good in your life, but also the bad, the struggles. Picture the woman in year nine of her suffering. It might have seemed bleak to her. Ultimately God used this precious woman to accomplish mighty things. For more on understanding the pain we face: 4 Characteristics of God That Help Us Understand the Problem of Pain
3. Jesus speaks to you. He has words of hope for you today. We hear God primarily through the Bible. Studying it is crucial. He also speaks to us through prayer. Hearing God in prayer takes practice. Knowing what his voice sounds like requires intimate knowledge of the Bible. Listen to him through his word today! For more on the importance of Bible study: Embracing Spiritual Disciplines: Bible Study
What part of Bible study do you find most challenging?
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