"And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and quite unable to stand up straight." - Luke 13:11
What a camera-worthy scene! Jesus is teaching in a village synagogue and this woman comes into his sightline. Luke writes it as though she has suddenly tumbled from the skies. Almost certainly she was planted there by the Pharisees. As a physically ill woman, osteoporosis, birth injury, we do not know, but she has no right to be among the hale and hearty men in that synagogue.
Here she stands, bent and concentrating on the ground which has been her purview for so long. Deformed as she is, she cannot go to the village well nor use the communal oven. She is a shunned person. Jesus calls her over, addresses her by that poorly translated "woman" which is much closer in English to "honored lady" and so begins her healing. No one has treated her with that much respect in ages.
And then, not only does he speak words of welcome but she feels his hands rest upon her deformed shoulders and she is able to stand upright. I love to think that as she raises her face for the first time in 18 years, the first sight she has is of the smiling face of Jesus. He has to be smiling, doesn't he? Now he is about to do something more shocking than healing her on the Sabbath day.
When the synagogue leader has finished his petty little rant about coming for healing on other days, Jesus cannot abide his small-mindedness. With a hand still on this now whole little lady, Jesus excoriates his enemies who untie their animals on this day so that they might be fed and watered. This he climaxes by saying, "Ought not this daughter of Abraham... be set free from this bondage on the Sabbath day?"
Can you hear it? Every man present had prided himself on being a son of Abraham, a man called to faith. Jesus takes this woman, a sinner in their eyes, and says that she too is a person of faith. No other woman is ever called a daughter of Abraham. Our newly-healed person has no other name but that, and it is sufficient.
Skip with her out of that synagogue amid the rejoicing crowd and watch her go down a street whose dust was all she had seen for too long. As she scans the treetops and watches the flowery vines climb the walls, make her joy yours today.