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THOU ART LOOSED
Intro: At Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural, shortly before his assassination in 1865, he spoke of how both parties deprecated war, and yet war came. He continued, “Neither party expected the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Each looked for an easier triumph. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other.”
And with that, Lincoln let his own feelings show through as he spoke of how strange it was, “that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces.”
Ultimately, the black slaves were set free. Theoretically, it became legal as early as the first day of the year, 1863, in what has come to be known as the Emancipation Proclamation.
“The word spread,” in the words of one historian, “from Capitol Hill out across the city, down into the valleys and fields of Virginia and the Carolinas, and even into the plantations of Georgia and Mississippi and Alabama. ‘Slavery Legally Abolished!’ read the headlines, and yet something amazing took place. The greater majority of the slaves in the South went right on living as though they were not emancipated. That continued throughout the Reconstruction Period.”
“The Negro remained locked in a caste system of ‘race etiquette’ as rigid as any had known in formal bondage, and that every slave could repeat, with equal validity, what an Alabama slave had mumbled when asked what he thought of the Great Emancipator whose proclamation had gone into effect. ‘I don’t know nothin’ ’bout Abraham Lincoln cep they say he sot us free. And I don’t know nothin’ ’bout that neither.’”
How tragic. A war was being fought. A document had been signed. Slaves were legally set free. The word is emancipated. And yet most continued to live out their years, and many of their children some of their years, in fear, saying, “I don’t know nothin’ ’bout that neither.” In a context of freedom, slaves chose to remain slaves, though they were legally freed. Even though emancipated, they kept serving the same master throughout their lives.
Sadly, many believers in this room are like the slaves in Civil War times. All the official documents have been signed, all the legal matters have been taken care of. God has accepted the “emancipation proclamation” made by Jesus on Calvary, when He said, “It is finished”. In Christ, we have been set free forever! We are no longer in bondage to our sins, our past, our guilt, or anything else that we might name. Yet, we still live in bondage because we will not accept the freedom available to us in Jesus.
This passage is all about how Jesus can set us free. As we watch Him deliver this sick woman from the bondage of her sickness, we get a picture of what He can do for us, if we will come to Him. Let’s spend a few minutes in this passage together as we I share some thoughts with you on the subject, “Thou Art Loosed”. Perhaps today will be the day when you identify that which binds you and you get free from it forever!
I. V. 11, 16 THE TORMENT SHE ENDURED
A. She Was Afflicted Physically - This was a woman who was in severe physical pain. Her body was bent double at the waste. Surely, every day was a struggle for her. She found herself in a physical condition that prevented her from looking up. She could not, by her own power, overcome her condition. Sadly, many have found themselves in a spiritual state in which they cannot look up either! Totally unable to see past the torment they are experiencing in their lives. (Note: If you are the Lord’s, even your afflictions are part of His plan for your life, Rom. 8:28.)
B. She Was Attacked Spiritually - Verse 16 lets us know that this woman was an Israelite and a believer. Yet, she is under the attack of the devil! Satan has bound her and has caused her body to be broken by her affliction. (Note: Even saved people can be attacked by the devil. Now, we need to understand that no saint of God can be demon possessed! Jesus did not cast out any demons here. He merely spoke to her condition. She was not demon possessed, she was demon oppressed! Most of the time, our illnesses are just that which is part and parcel of the human experience. Let’s not blame every cold on the devil. The point here is that believers can come under the attack of the enemy. He will seek for ways to bind our lives and to hinder us from being all that God wants us to be. What has you bound this morning? Sin? Bitterness? Temptation? Hatred? Unforgiveness? Guilt? Addiction? Lust? Envy? Greed? Religion? Fear? Worry? Finances? The list could go on forever, but the fact is, anything and everything, even the good things of life will be used by the enemy to bind, hinder and devastate our lives, if we allow him to!)
C. She Was Affected Socially - No doubt, because of her condition, this woman was considered to be a freak. She was an oddity to be laughed at and imitated by children. She was an outcast and was probably unwanted, unloved and uncared for. She was the kind of person you would avoid on the street. She was a social pariah! (Note: She knew the pain of rejection! Some of you are afflicted in that manner this morning. Beware that you do not allow your rejections to become bitterness! The enemy will us that to trap you and bind you, if he is allowed to!)
(Note: before we move on in this passage, I want to point out something about this woman. To me, she is one of the most powerful pictures of faith an faithfulness in the New Testament. She has been in this condition for 18 years! If she has been to the synagogue every Sabbath for those 18 years, she has attended some 1,000 meetings there. She has been sick for 18 years. She has not been healed, still she believes in God! She prays, but even when it seems like God isn’t going to answer, she remains faithful. She comes to the services, in spite of the fact that no one would think a thing about her if she did not. She had suffered for years while God had only watched, still she remained faithful! What a rebuke she is to the mentality that abounds today! If we have a headache, we run to the medicine bottle and knock ourselves out. She was bent double, yet she came to the house of God to worship! We allow the slightest bump in the road of life to derail us and cause us to want to throw in the towel. She persisted in her faith, even when life didn’t go her way, because she loved the Lord her God! I think she continue faithful because she knew that God knew best. I think she still believed in her heart that God would one day answer her prayer. I think she knew the truth that God was worthy of her worship, whether He even touched her or not! She loved Him and she would worship Him in spite of the obstacles she faced. She was committed to the Lord! Are we that committed?)
II. V. 12-17 THE TOUCH SHE EXPERIENCED
(Ill. This woman wasn’t the only one who came to the synagogue to worship. Jesus Christ was in attendance that day and He came to worship as well. The Bible says, verse 12, “He saw her”. Jesus went to the House of God to worship. He knew that genuine worship involved mor than merely sitting in one’s place. Worship was more than an experience of the head. It was an experience of the heart that found reaction in His hands! You see, too many come to church, sit in the pew, shift their brain into neutral and glide through the service, neither moving or being moved by what they experience. Genuine worship occurs when our belief moves from our head, down to our hearts and then out through our hands, James 1:27. Time spent in church that doesn’t move your heart and motivate your hands is not worship, it is just time spent in church!)
A. She Received A Compassionate Word - When Jesus saw her, He called her to some to Him. When she had struggled her way to where He was, He spoke to her. He called her “Woman”. What a word of compassion! Here was a woman whose beauty had long since faded. People did not see her as a woman, but as a freak, an object of mockery, pity and probably disgust. Yet, Jesus saw her as a woman! Others may not have recognized her significance, but Jesus did. He loved her like she was! (Note: No one around you might recognize your value, but Jesus does! He doesn’t see you for the problems you bear. He doesn’t see you in light of your past, your troubles or your scars. He sees you for what you can become through His matchless grace! He see what He can do in, to and through you. He sees you as significant, special and honorable in His sight.) Then He spoke the words that must have thrilled her soul, “Thou art loosed from thine infirmity”. What she had tried and failed to do, Jesus did with a word! What she or anyone could never could have accomplished, Jesus did with a word! (Note: I don’t know what has you bound this morning. I don’t know what kind of past you are fighting. I don’t know what kind of emotional demons that haunt you day by day. I don’t know about the valleys and the burdens, but I know Who does! I know that if you will come to Him at His call, Matt. 11:28, He can speak the word of liberty that will set you free from all that encumbers you. He didn’t save you to leave you in bondage. He saved you to set you free, John 8:36.)
B. She Received A Comprehensive Work - This miracle that Jesus performed for this woman was Speedy, Perfect, Public, Permanent and it was Internalized! It was hard to deny!
1. He Affected The Cure - After Jesus spoke, He touched her and immediately she stood ramrod straight! No longer was she forced to shuffle about from place to place, never able to look up, see the stars, look at the sky. No longer was she deformed and freakish. No longer would she be the brunt of jokes and an object of mockery. She had been healed! (Note: What Jesus did for her, He has the power to do for you! He can break the bonds that hold you down and set you free! You need His touch in your life! You need to get to Him and look to Him for deliverance!)
2. He Attacked The Cause - This woman’s affliction was caused by Satan. Jesus rebuked the influence of the devil in her life and set her free! (Note: Friend, He waits to do the same thing for you today! He wants to deliver you from the bondage of your hurts. He wants to heal your emotional scars. He wants to set you free from the pain and isolation you feel. Our enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil all delight in keeping us in bondage. Because, when we are bound, we are useless to the Lord and cannot contribute to the kingdom work of the Savior. Jesus has a plan to set you free. You need to get to Him!)
3. He Addressed The Critics - When this miracle occurred, the people in the synagogue began to rejoice, as well they should have, verse 17. However, the ruler of the synagogue told the people that they could be healed any of the other six days of the week. He was implying that the Sabbath was more important than the needs of the people! Jesus rebuked this idea and merely told this man that he was placing the needs of animals above the needs of people! In fact, Jesus tells him that he is a hypocrite! He loves his religion more than he loved God, or God’s people! (Note: When this man went to the house of God, he was concerned about his religion and his reputation. When Jesus went, Jesus saw others and their needs. The ruler of the synagogue was determined to carry out his religion without being distracted by the needs around him. Jesus, on the other hand, was always looking for how He could help those around Him. He was about the Father’s business, John 5:19-20.)
(Note: The thing to remember, is that Jesus Christ still has the same power in His touch this morning! If you are lost, He still has to power to save you! If you are hurting, whether it be emotionally, spiritually, or physically, He still has the power to heal you. If you are bond this morning by the many things that come against God’s children. He has the power to touch you and to set you free!)
III. V. 13 THE TRANSFORMATION SHE ENJOYED
A. She Was Healed Externally - Life would never be the same for her again! Her condition had forever been changed! She was whole she was straight and she was free from the bondage of her condition. (Note: That is the power of His touch! It is life changing and it is powerful! When He touches you, straightens out what is wrong and gives you His healing, you will never be the same again! You see, when Jesus heals the heart, it always affects the outer man as well, Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 10:3-5. By the way, it is in the mind that real change is effected! When the inner man is made whole the outer man shows the fruit of that work!)
B. She Was Healed Emotionally - This poor, shamed, broken woman stood up straight and began to praise the name of Jesus Christ. Her pain had been replaced with His praise! Her shame had been replaced with His shout! He had touched her and now she was free! The verb here indicates that her praise was on going in nature. She just kept on lifting up her voice in praise to God above! (Note: What grace that can replace our bondage with the glorious freedom to be found in Jesus! When we experience His touch, when He breaks the bonds that hold us, when He sets us free from the scars, pain and trials of life, He replaces our gloom with His glory. When the Lord sets you free, don’t you worry about it, you just give Him the praise He deserves!)
Conc: Everything I have said this morning has been designed to let you know that Jesus Christ cares about you and He has a plan to help you. He wants to set you free from every thing that binds you today. I want you to notice that Jesus made the first move. He called her to come to Him, verse 12. She responded to His call, came to Him and got the help she needed. Is He calling you today? Is there something in your life that has you bound? Some past hurt? Some secret sin? Some guilt over things long gone? Some bitterness and unforgiveness that has wedged itself into your heart? Maybe you just need to come to Him for the very first time. He will save you if you will come. When will we ever learn that the only way to get the help we need from the Lord is to go about His way. That is, when He calls, we come to Him. When He calls we respond. When we do, we are promised that He will be there to meet us and to help us get the healing we need for our lives.
We have all heard the statement, “Let go and let God.” Have you ever thought about where it originated? The story goes something like this: A college student back in the nineteenth century took six postcards and wrote a large letter on each one of the postcards: L–E–T-G–O–D. He then put them on the mantelpiece in his room where he was living at school. One evening a draft blew through the window and the “D” blew away. As he picked it up, what he saw seemed to be a message from God, the secret of the Christian life. Only by letting go can you let God carry out His will in your life.