Today’s Reading: Luke 13:10-17, 22-30, 14:1-6, 18:9-14
One Sabbath day as Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, he saw a woman who had been crippled by an evil spirit. She had been bent double for eighteen years and was unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Dear woman, you are healed of your sickness!” Then he touched her, and instantly she could stand straight. How she praised God! – Luke 13:10-13
If you have ever pulled your back out or had back pain, you quickly empathize with this woman. 18 years of back pain, 18 years of looking at the ground when she walked. Yes, I imagine her response was absolutely to praise God! Can you picture it? She is standing tall with her arms lifted high above her head, thanking God for freedom and healing! SHE KNOWS! She knows the difference Jesus has made in her life and SHE KNOWS who is responsible!
You KNOW her pain and you probably KNOW this story, but do you KNOW the One who healed her? Not everyone knew God the way this woman did. Not everyone praised God for His faithfulness. Some were too caught up in rules and too distracted by the WHEN to focus on the WHO.
“There are six days of the week for working,” [the leader in charge of the synagogue] said to the crowd. “Come on those days to be healed, not on the Sabbath.”
But the Lord replied, “You hypocrites! Each of you works on the Sabbath day! Don’t you untie your ox or your donkey from its stall and lead it out for water? This dear woman, a daughter of Abraham, has been held in bondage by Satan for eighteen years. Isn’t it right that she be released, even on the Sabbath?” – Luke 13:14b-16
Jesus cared more about the one suffering than he did about the religious regulations and opinions of the religious leaders. He healed the woman on the Sabbath while teaching in the synagogue, right there for all to see. Shortly after this, on another Sabbath day, Jesus healed a man while he was eating dinner in the home of a leader of the Pharisees. Scripture says the people were watching him closely, but this did not keep him from touching the man with swollen arms and legs, healing him of his discomfort (Luke 14:1-6).
“Which of you doesn’t work on the Sabbath? If your son or your cow falls into a pit, don’t you rush to get him out?” – Luke 14:5b
Time and time again, Jesus showed who he was. The people had the choice to get to KNOW him, to focus on the man and see him as their Savior. We have that same choice. Jesus wants us to KNOW him – to have a personal relationship with him instead of a religion and set of rules.
Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?”
He replied, “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail. When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t KNOW you or where you come from.’ Then you will say, ‘But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ And he will reply, ‘I tell you, I don’t KNOW you or where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil.’” – Luke 13:24-27
It takes more than being actively involved in a church or giving your time and resources to a good cause. We were created to have a relationship with our Creator. We can be of great importance to the church and still miss out on the narrow door to God’s Kingdom.
But isn’t that why we do this? We get up every morning and find a quiet spot to get to KNOW our Savior. “My Morning Coffee” time is not about the caffeine, it is about waking up in God’s presence and getting to KNOW Him – humbly listening for Him to teach us and willing to obey what He commands.
“Some who seem least important now will be the greatest then, and some who are the greatest now will be least important then.” – Luke 13:30b
Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Luke 18:9-14
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never KNEW you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” – Matthew 7:21-23
Do you KNOW Him? Are you eager to know Him more?