I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. Galatians 4:1 ESV
A few weeks ago, our opening scripture took hold of me in my quiet time. I haven’t been able to let go of it. I don’t think Jesus wants me to.
You see, you and I are children of God—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17)— entitled to the full riches of our inheritance upon maturity.
But we have refused to grow up. So we’re living as slaves instead of heirs.
Jesus wants to see us live out the riches of our inheritance. He lovingly demonstrated this to a woman suffering under a disabling spirit.
Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. Luke 13:10-13
Take a moment to picture the woman with me. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself (verse 11).
Perhaps the image hits a little close to home. Have you known oppression so heavy it seemed you couldn’t straighten under its weight? I have. And I experienced it as a believer.
I need you to notice something about this woman. She didn’t approach Jesus for her healing. He called her to Him.
I wonder, dear one. Had she so resolved herself to her situation that it didn’t even occur to her that she could find freedom in Christ? After all, she had suffered under the weight of this oppressive spirit for 18 long years. This was simply who she was.
But Jesus saw something else in her, something only He could know. He knew she was a woman of faith.
How can I say that? Consider His words after the synagogue ruler condemned Him for healing her on the Sabbath.
“You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” Luke 13:15-16
What strikes me here is what Jesus called her: a daughter of Abraham.
Perhaps that seems insignificant to you. There’s nothing too surprising about a Jewish woman visiting the synagogue on the Sabbath.
But Jesus never threw that term around loosely. In fact, several times when Jews claimed to be Abraham’s children, He rebuked them (Matthew 3:9, John 8:39).
So what did it mean that Jesus called this woman a daughter of Abraham?
Romans 9:6-8 sheds some light on it for us.
For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.
God only counts children of the promise as Abraham’s offspring. And who are the children of the promise?
And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. Galatians 3:29
When Jesus proclaimed this woman a daughter of Abraham, He declared that she belonged to Him. She was a woman of faith, a believer who chose to sit in the synagogue listening to the teaching of her Lord.
Listen carefully, dear one. Jesus called her a daughter, yet she remained bent in bondage to an oppressive, disabling spirit. What she suffered physically came directly from the kingdom of darkness, yet she could not conceive that she had the potential to live free of it.
So, in His merciful love, Jesus called her over to Him and told her the truth.
“Woman, you are freed from your disability.” Luke 13:12
I can’t help thinking of John 8:32.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Jesus called her to Him and simply told her the truth of her condition. She was free. As she embraced the truth He revealed and believed it, she experienced the very freedom He had declared.
Beloved, Jesus still calls us to Him so that He can tell us the truth. Only most of us don’t approach Him when He calls. We find every excuse not to open His Word. Then we wonder why we don’t experience His power.
Freedom is found in truth, and truth is found in Jesus. It’s time we draw near to the Word and start living as heirs of the promise.