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Picture of the Kingdom

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Our Scripture reading for this coming Sunday is Luke 13:10-17.


On Sunday we will look at this passage, but in preparation it's good to look at this passage in its context. It comes immediately after this call to repentance (with a warning) and immediately before two short parables on the kingdom of God. In this context, the miracle of Jesus healing the woman who was bent over with a spirit of weakness from Satan, shows us something about Jesus, about the Kingdom of God, and about those in positions of religious authority who couldn't accept Jesus.

I read this in a commentary about this passage this week (NIV Application Commentary: Luke by Darrell Bock):

"Jesus frequently called the people to repent. In a miracle only Luke narrates, we discover whether the Jewish religious leadership (e.g., the pharisees and synagogue rulers) have responded to this call. Have any of them taken a closer look at him and recognized their accountability in refusing his message?"

The leaders are focused on the rules, the regulations, about not slipping up. They are so focused on these things they can't see the wonderful things that God is doing in their midst. They cannot even celebrate the freedom a child of Abraham is granted from Satan, on the day they were called to focus on God's work in creation and redemption, because healing on the Sabbath was against the rules.

They miss the picture of the Kingdom of God that Jesus shows them. They miss the very fact that it is breaking in all around them through the presence and the power of Jesus. Here Jesus shows his power over Satan and how, through Him, all things will be made right. Here Jesus shows God's love and compassion. 

Jesus asks the synagogue leader, "Shouldn't this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?"

Another commentator writes (Ronald Byars):

"This story in Luke's gospel is immediately followed by two short sayings about the dominion of God. One begins, '[Jesus] said therefore, 'What is the kingdom of God like?' and the other, 'To what shall I compare the kingdom of God?' The story of the afflicted woman seems to anticipate these questions and provide a kind of picture of what the ultimate reign of God will be like. Where Jesus is, the kingdom is. Where Jesus is, things begin to be made right. His ministry provides a foretaste of the coming kingdom."

As we prepare for this Sunday, may our eyes be open to the Kingdom of God around us. May we, like this unnamed woman, praise God for all He has done and is still doing.

And together, may we repent of our sins and long for the Kingdom to come, for the day when all will be made right, and we will praise our God together in the glory of His presence.

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