Woman, Thou Art Loosed


This week at church the scripture reading was from Luke 13:10-17.  Luke 13:10-17 tells the story of a woman who had been bent over for 18 years:  she had a spirit of infirmity and could not stand up straight.  Jesus speaks to her first, and tells her, “Woman, thou art loosed,”  according to the King James Version.  In the New International Version it says, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”  Even though I understand the NIV better, I like the phrasing of the King James.

Being bent over for 18 years, never able to stand up straight or look someone in the face, would be a terrible fate.  We see women today who suffer from severe osteoporosis and we stand a little straighter in thankfulness that we are not bent over in this way.  Being afflicted with any kind of chronic infirmity for 18 years is a terrible thing.  No matter what it is, it affects every moment of life.  It bends us over.  It weighs us down.

Imagine hearing these words from Jesus and then, for the first time in 18 years, being free of the pain and being able to stand up straight.  Imagine the infirmity falling away.  Imagine being free of that pull downward and seeing the face of Jesus.  Jesus didn’t just tell her she was free, he helped her straighten up so she was able, maybe for the first time, to praise God.

Of course, the powers that be didn’t like Jesus healing people.  They were particularly irate that he would “break the law” by healing on the Sabbath.  But I think they also didn’t like him daring to set a woman free of the infirmity that had bound her.  Some people like to see others bound.  Perhaps it is so they can prove that they are freer and stand taller.

There is an old gospel song called “Love Lifted Me” written by James Rowe and Howard Smith in 1912.  The words seem to apply to the woman in Luke 13:

All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling.
In His blessed presence live, ever His praises sing,
Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul’s best songs,
Faithful, loving service too, to Him belongs.

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!  When nothing else could help love lifted me!

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!  When nothing else could help love lifted me!

What is bending you over or holding you down?  Give it to Jesus and let him lift you and set you free.  Man or woman, thou art loosed!