The audacity to stand up straight
I continue to be impressed with how audacious grace is.
In Luke 13:10ff, Jesus encounters a woman who’s been bent double for 18 long years. Jesus breaks all kinds of rules by initiating a conversation with her, touching her, and healing her of the affliction. She stands up straight and begins to worship God.
All this in the synagogue. And on the Sabbath day, to boot.
It just isn’t proper.
Jesus is duly reprimanded by the synagogue official. The official, after all, is responsible to ensure that rules and order are maintained.
- Social propriety.
- Religious rituals and regulations.
Either Jesus isn’t aware of such propriety, or doesn’t care. He has one concern–a woman stooped under a burden of infirmity. She’s carried the load long enough.
Compassion locks Jesus’ focus on her need. All the concerns the official thought so important fades into Jesus’ periphery.
Grace doesn’t care if her healing is proper. Isn’t concerned if it obeys the rules. Doesn’t listen to the religious arguments of why it isn’t the time or place. Doesn’t question if the woman deserves her affliction or merits her healing.
Grace restores and heals and liberates. Everyone and anyone is a candidate. Any time, any place. No prerequisites required.
What have we been carrying around that has us bent double? How long have we been under its load?
What rules, regulations and expectations tell us that we have to keep hauling it around?
What are the voices we fear will criticize us if we let it go?
Jesus has the audacity to release, forgive and heal now. He doesn’t demand we jump through hoops first.
His grace has one intent–to empower us to stand up straight and get on with a life that brings delight and glory to God.