Text: Luke 13:10-13
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. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.
In the chapter right before Luke tells this story of the bent over woman, Jesus is in full eschatological mode, teaching about being prepared for the coming Kingdom, which will arrive whenever God is good and ready. It’s one of those chapters in the gospels that, if you’re reading a certain kind of Bible, is printed almost entirely in red. Jesus is in front of a crowd that numbered in the thousands, people jostling to get a glimpse of him, elbowing each other aside so they can hear, even trampling each other in the frantic push forward. They are straining to hear what he has to say and the energy of the crowd is matched in the intensity of Jesus’ words: “….whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God…Take care! Be on your guard…This very night your life is being demanded of you…Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit…”
And no wonder the crowd is so intense – eighteen Galileans had just been killed by Pilate. His sporadic persecution was enough to stoke their fears and raise their hopes that their suffering was a sign that the Kingdom of God was near.