This weekend, I'm talking about women and Jesus. I don't know why, but one of the astounding elements surfacing in this first week of reading Luke is the number of women mentioned so far in this narrative. Women were not highly regarded nor respected in this culture, so Dr. Luke is obviously wanting to hint at something in the life of Jesus. Namely, Jesus may have never loved a woman, but he did love women, and wasn't shy about entering the woman's world. Though never married, his life was given to restoring dignity to femininity defending that dignity to the death. The reason I say it like that is because his interaction with women was one of the things that disqualified him in the eyes of the religious leaders of that day. More than one time he was questioned for his comfort level in the presence of prostitutes, the promiscuous, and the peasants.
Jesus treatment of the female heart is remarkable. So let me make a few remarks. They were not sex objects to him. They were not baby makers. They were not even the weaker vessel in his eyes. They were not intellectually inferior or emotionally unstable. They were not slaves under the dominion of the man. They were not to be trifled or toyed with. They were not to be abused or abandoned. They were not to be exploited or exposed. No, they were--as he stated-- "His daughters" and in this section today he called this woman the "daughter" of Abraham.
The woman I speak of was crippled by a spirit for 18 years. She couldn't even stand up straight she was so vexed with demonized discomfort. I love it...the text says "he called her forward". That's what I long to do for women in this culture. To call them forward. To call them toward healing. To call them to the light. To call them to the front instead of letting them stay in the back for another year.
It says that he spoke into her hurting heart: "Woman, you are set free..." He wasn't afraid of that word, "woman". He named her. He knew its crowning origin. He knew its power and preciousness. "You are free." Remember, in Luke 4 this is the expressed reason for his 3 year ministry..."to bind up the brokenhearted and to set the captives free..." He was consumed with his focus of freedom fighting.
It says that "he put his hands on her"...gentle, appropriate, merciful. I'm sure she had felt the touch of a man before, but nothing like this man. His touch was full of respect and resurrection. He had no hidden intentions, no ulterior motives that drive many a man to touch a woman. No, his hands were holy. And holy hands bring wholeness.
The religious leaders were indignant (ticked) that he healed on the Sabbath saying "There are six days to work. So come and be healed on those days." Wow. They didn't view spiritual healing as spiritual. How could you be so blind as to think "healing was work"...healing was "secular"...healing was "labor". This is why Jesus came, to reclaim religion from the hands of the despotic and deceived. As it says in James he came to start a "pure religion that was undefiled". And one of the main priorities was healing women. Women of all backgrounds and ages. Abused women, used women, and misused women. Isaiah 61, his "ministry vision passage" says that he wanted to restore "beauty for ashes"...because so many women have been burnt and burnt out, a pile of ashes. And Jesus would see beauty and speak it back into being. This is why women would seek him out even if they didn't trust men, because he wasn't like other men, he was good. He was true. He was God. And they felt like his daughters. Protected and secure in his strong presence.
After he set this "daughter of Abraham" free, it says that his "opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing." I love how Jesus humiliated people that were used to humiliating people. And more than that, I love how he delighted people that were normal, everyday human beings looking to catch a break. Oh, the wonderful things he did. This is what has always and this is the only thing that will ever change the world..." the wonderful things you do".
I can't wait to speak on this subject this weekend at Impact.
Until then, "Women, you are set free."