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TUESDAY 19th MAY 2020


Good morning friends,

I left you yesterday with these words from Luke’s gospel :

Jesus said, God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!” (Luke 4:18-19 The Message)

Reading on this passage we hear these words :

He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.” (Luke 4:20-21 The Message)

The Messiah has come, the kingdom of God is near, and the healing work is begun.

Immediately, the ministry of Jesus began to be fulfilled, and look what happened in three short years.............

Jesus healed,

A man in the synagogue possessed by a demon, Peter’s mother-in law, a crowd of various people, one, and ten lepers, a Roman servant, a friend of four men, the only son of a widow, a bleeding and unclean woman, the daughter of a synagogue leader, a mute, an old invalid man, many people in the market places, a deaf and speech-impaired man, a blind man, a man blind from birth, a blind and mute man, a crippled woman, a small man, a blind beggar, a dead man, the slave of the high priest, a thief on the cross, and many that were not recorded. These are the people Christ healed.

Christ healed the rich, the poor, the free, the slave, the Jew, the gentile, the young, the old, male, female, the proud, the humble, the rich, the poor, the loud, the quiet, the sane, the insane, the loved, the rejected, the living, the dead, those he knew and those he didn’t know. Those who he could see face to face, and those who were far out of sight.

He healed those who asked, and those who did not ask.

He healed immediately, and he healed over time.

He healed those in this life, and those who had passed over into death.

Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

One of my favourite gospel stories is Jesus’ cure of the bent woman on the Sabbath. It is found in Luke 13:10-17.

The story begins with this sentence: Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath Then Luke tells us a woman was there.

For eighteen years she had been crippled by a spirit. She was bent over, completely incapable of standing straight.

The term "crippled by a spirit” doesn’t necessarily imply some sort of demonic possession.

All kinds of experiences can cripple us, especially as we navigate our way through these days of the pandemic.

Employment worries, the loss of a loved one, fears for the future, loneliness, ill health, all can make us feel like we are heavily bent over with cares.

Jesus sees the woman. He notices her, from afar.

In the synagogue in those days, the men were in the front and the women were in the back.

Complete segregation.

Yet,Jesus looks past all the men and focuses on this woman among all the other women.

And what does Jesus do? He calls to her. How did she know he was calling her and not someone else? She was so bent over she couldn’t even see Jesus. In fact, she didn’t see anyone anymore. All she saw were peoples’ feet.

Yet, somehow she knew he was calling her. And she went to him.

This means she had to shuffle through all those men to get to Jesus. What courage this took! What humility too—for all eyes were now upon her!

And when you are self-conscious because of your looks, the last thing you want is to be the centre of attention.

Then Jesus lays his hands upon her and says, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He touches her despite the cultural restrictions of his day that would frown upon this action.

His words and touch give her not power or prestige, but freedom! And dignity!

She slowly begins to stand up straight. For the first time in years she is looking someone in the face. And the face she looks into is Jesus’.

Jesus restores the woman’s dignity. He sets her free. He pronounces her beautiful.

In the years I have been chaplain at Braehead House I have met many people who have been so bent over with worry or unhealed hurts or low self esteem or broken-hearted, that they can barely lift up their heads.

Some have said to me, “I don’t know why I am here, I just knew I had to come”

Often I have simply listened to their story, prayed quietly, and then stepped out of the way to allow the Holy Spirit to tend to their needs.

Then, watched as slowly they have begun to lift up their heads again, to begin to be free, to know they are precious in God’s eyes.

We can all take part in the ministry of Jesus, even in lockdown, by praying, by sending a message of hope, by listening over the telephone, by being the face, the voice of Jesus to those who are worn and weary.

And..........if we are the ones in need of Jesus today, then we can go to him, for he says,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.“

May the Saviour raise you up today,

God bless.

and weary. And..........if we are the ones in need of Jesus today, then we can go to him, for he says,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.“

God bless you this day.

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