Formations lesson for June 27: Worship Teaches Us : Friday, June 11, 2004
June 11 2004 by Mike Womble

Formations lesson for June 27: Worship Teaches Us : Friday, June 11, 2004
Friday, June 11, 2004

Formations lesson for June 27: Worship Teaches Us

By Mike Womble
Focal passage: Luke 13:10-17

In churches these days I have found two types of people - huggers and non-huggers. You knew who I was talking about as soon as you read that line. Who comes to mind from your church that runs up to wrap his or her arms around you before saying a word? Maybe you despise to be hugged and try to avoid those of us who welcome a good hug.

Imagine if you will, what it must have been like for Jesus to reach out and touch someone who was untouchable - someone who might not have received a hug from anyone for nearly two decades.

Jesus has a way of going beyond just stating the obvious. But as some of my church members say, "There he goes meddlin' again."

Jesus saw this occasion with a woman in the synagogue as the right moment to teach us something.

Suffering: Jesus notices it

Luke 13:10-13

What was it like to the followers of Jesus who watched Him interact with someone who was all too often overlooked? Do you think the man who stood on the outskirts of the crowd really knew what was going on? He could hardly hear the dialogue between the hunched back woman and Jesus. Yet, you really don't have to be able to hear the words, because Jesus' actions resonated hundreds of decibels more than anything that verbally transpired.

This woman probably did not come into the synagogue seeking healing. For her, the hope that Jesus shared was enough to draw her into the crowded place surrounded by people who wanted nothing to do with her. Yet, her longing for something more was the very thing that Jesus saw.

Jesus looked across the crowd and noticed her. His divinity may have given Him some light into her background and illness. According to verse 11 there was a spirit within her that led to her bodily deformation.

We don't know what kept her crippled body from standing up straight. Maybe it was abuse as a child. Maybe it was verbal mistreatment from a domineering spouse. Maybe it was psychological problems that could not be identified in those days - who knows?

What we do know is that Jesus looked at her with compassion. He pointed her out in a crowd and said, "Woman, you are set free from your ailment."

How many of us need to hear those words? "Henry, you are set free from your addiction. Mary, you are free from your guilt..." Jesus sees us in the crowd and wants to set us free.

Legalism: Jesus condemns it

Luke 13:14-17

I love it when someone has a great idea for ministry. The problem comes when that idea gets squelched when it goes through the various stages of approval. Sometimes, our structure prevents good things from happening.

When this woman became whole again the leader of the synagogue felt his leadership falter and tried to block anyone else from reaching wholeness. Talk about insecurity! If anything, Jesus only wanted to help him lead people to God, but instead human rules were used to stop the divine from moving over the crowd.

Jesus stood His ground and condemned this tactical block. This woman received the hope she came looking for - who cares what day it is? Hope cannot be backed into the corner and kept for ourselves. It is to be given away.

Teachable moments: Jesus demonstrates it

Luke 13:18-20

These verses are left out of the lesson for this week, but they are tied closely to the lesson. In an effort to demonstrate why this woman received healing Jesus told two parables (the mustard seed and the yeast). Both parables are impromptu sermons that Jesus used right there in the moment. This woman had the hope of a mustard seed and she received complete healing. She also was a small insignificant person in a larger crowd, but she became the purpose of the gathering. What boldness. What hope.

So What?

Who have you overlooked lately? Where do you see God's movement and what can you do to foster that instead of squelch it? What are you hoping for?
6/11/2004 12:00:00 AM by Mike Womble | with 0 comments

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