Devotional — Living unbound

Published 5:18 pm Thursday, September 1, 2022

“Now (Jesus) was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight.” — NRS Luke 13:10

In the last several months, I have read and reread the passage of Luke where Jesus cures a woman “whom Satan bound for eighteen long years”. It is such a great passage and it seems each time I think I have found its full meaning I see something else. I think in this small article I will concentrate on the obvious meaning of what Christ has to say here about how God intends us to live. In short, God’s plan for us to live free of the binding of sin that Satan wraps around us.

The woman who is unnamed and has no particular sin attributed to her. Yet she has suffered and has bent over for eighteen years. Yet she has not given in to it. She has come to worship her God on the Sabbath. Jesus touches her and heals her. She stands up straight, and quietly disappears from the story. One can only assume that Luke’s aim was to keep her past, present and future out of the lime light so that we could all relate with her suffering in life as well as her cure when worship is opened up to heal. After all, Jesus could have cured her at any time: in her walking to and from worship or even any other day of the week. The day was important.

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This seems to be Jesus’ idea of how to confront our bending of worship so it suits us instead of worshiping as God wants. Jesus is telling us that he has come to unbind people who are suffering from sin. This is the goal of his entire ministry summed up in a few verses. The rest of the pericope is Jesus berating the stuck in the mud worship leader and telling them the truth about the Kingdom of God.

Jesus says that God’s Kingdom is a place that grows from a tiny seed to give us all a home. It is a place for us all to live in a safe and secure place of God’s making. A place where we are to be unbound of sin. Amen!

Keith Leach is Pastor of College Church and College Chaplain at Hampden-Sydney College. He can be reached at