“WOMAN, THOU ART LOOSED!”
“JUST HOLD ME!”
And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.
And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.
And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.
And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.
The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?
And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.
This woman was in church, but she was in trouble!
Seldom, when Jesus started preaching, did He let anything stop him! Once you have set the stage and you begin to minister, you begin to break the Bread of Life, in fact it is considered rude for you to interrupt a minister when He is flowing in the ministry. Twice, if I am remembering right, did Jesus stop when He was ministering, to do something. Once was when a man had a withered hand in the crowd. He stopped in the middle of His message, went to the man and said, “stretch forth thine hand,” and he stretched forth his hand and immediately God put bones in his hands and made his hands to become straight. The second time that He stopped was over a woman who was in the crowd, and both of them needed to be delivered and set free, because ceremony can never take the place over ministry.
The Bible said that He was ministering in the synagogue when He saw her. She was just a woman in the crowd, but He saw her. The first thing that I want you to understand in order for you to experience any real deliverance in the Lord, is that God sees you. Not who you pretend to be, not who you think you have to be, not what you do to defend your position, not the callused person that you have become through years of abuse and misuse, HE SEES YOU! He sees what nobody else sees!
I am reminiscing about when Jacob lays down in the bed with Leah, and sleeps with her, thinking that she is Rachel, and does not know who she is until morning. That is an indictment against masculinity, to think that you could sleep with a woman all night and not know who she is until morning! In the morning he discovered that she was not who he thought she was. You can live with, eat with, even sleep with somebody who has not seen you, who is completely oblivious to your real circumstance and situation. As intimate as a sexual experience is, you can have a physical relationship with someone and never look them in the face! One of the things that gives dignity and credence to us, is when people look at us. It affirms the fact that we are important.
Nobody had seen her. (The woman with the spirit of infirmity.) She had become an anonymous, fictitious character in the house of the Lord. Most of the people who say they know you, really don’t know you! The Lord saw her. He saw where she was, He saw where she had been, He saw where she could have been, and He saw where she was going if He didn’t touch her. He was what happened to her eighteen years ago, that messed up her today, through an injury from yesterday. He saw her and whatever He saw was so awesome that He stopped in the middle of His message; stopped preaching and just started looking at her! God’s attention is on you! You may not be able to get anyone else’s attention anywhere around you, but God is looking right t you! He has heard the travailing cry of Hannah in the temple! He sees you! While other people misunderstand you, or just say, “She’s drunk,” “Emotional,” or “She’s just going through a crisis,” “She’s just silly,” He sees you! That’s the first thing that I want you to know. He is looking right at you! He’s looking right in your house! In your heart! Your circumstances!
She was not a pretty sight; and women are always supposed to be beautiful. She was not beautiful. She was bowed together, twisted, she had problems! You know, I have found that we don’t want people to get right; we just want them to look right! You don’t have to be right, better, or well; just act like everything is all right! Just dress right! Look right! Worship right! Shout when we say, “Shout!” Give when we say, “Give!” You ain’t gotta be right, just act right! It bothered Him that this woman was bowed over, and inside she was not right! She was unattractive! She should have been told that she was beautiful at every phase of her life. If there is a problem, the pain can be just as twisted, just as bowed, just as disfigured, as the beauty. You see, if you told everything that you had been through; I know you couldn’t do it, wouldn’t do it, and you better not do it, but if you told the unmentionable things that you had been through in your life, all of it would not be as pretty as you are! Thank God that He is not afraid to deal with the ugly stuff!
He did not look at her after she got it together, He looked at her while she was still a mess! He dignified her presence with attention, He looked at her! Most men like to look at a woman who looks good, He looked at a woman who was twisted and bowed, and couldn’t straighten up! But He dignified her presence with His attention, He looked right at her! He saw her, He called her! When I first begin to consider this, it was somewhat strange. He called her!?! He did not have to call her to heal her! We are talking about the Lord, you know! He could have spoke the Word! But your deliverance is not guaranteed to be convenient! You may have to make some changes to get what God has for you! You may have to get up! This woman could not get up like other people, she was handicapped! It takes longer to get your bearings. He called her anyway! You may not run as fast as the person beside you, but know that God called you. You may not drive what they drive, live in what they live in, or wear what they wear, but know that God called you! You may not have as much going on as they do, but you got to understand, He called you! I may be dragging a broken foot, a broken life, a past life, a divorced life, an abused childhood, a misuse or a secret! It may take me longer to get where you are, but He called me! Touch somebody and tell them, “I’m going anyway!”
Do not think that she was a weak woman. Sometimes we have a tendency to be very critical of each other. Do not disrespect her and think that she was a woman that did not want to be anything or go anywhere, or did not have desire, or did not want to achieve or establish herself. Sometimes when we see someone who is down and out, we are prone to say, “If she really wanted to be anything, she could be something!” There are some situations that happen in your life that limit you! She was not a lazy woman. She had tried to get up. She could in no wise, lift up herself! Have you ever gone through anything and you tried to get over it and it was difficult to get over it? You had to try different things to try to pray it out! Sing it out! Fast it out! Try to become involved in other activities! She had tried a lot of things, but she could in no wise lift up herself. It didn’t say she couldn’t lift up other people, she just couldn’t lift up herself! Many times we lift up everybody but ourselves! Ladies lift up their husbands, their children, their fathers, their mothers, but not themselves! You encouraged everybody but yourself! Isn’t it terrible when everybody gets up because of you, everybody but you? Then they all walk away, and you are laying there fallen. “Help, I’m fallen, and I can’t get up!” Tel somebody, “You can get up!”
Our needs are diverse, and God knows that! The woman is the only trace of evolution in the Bible. She is the only thing in creation that evolved out of something that was already created. He created the man from the dust of the earth, breathed into him the breath of life, and man became a living soul. When He blew into Adam, He blew everything into Adam. He blew Adam’s family into him, his future, his wife, with one breath and it was all in him. When God got ready to present to Adam the woman, He never had to reach down into the ground again to create her, He had already created her in Him! She was covered before she ever arrived! That’s why the woman can’t stand to be uncovered, unprotected, unsure, or worried; before she ever arrived she was covered in Adam! He reached into the body of man and pulled out the second step in creation, the woman! She was called, “…out of the man.” When the man was created, he was created on the sixth day, and when he was created, everything was there, sun, moon, stars, vegetation, and etc., everything but companionship, but when the woman was created, everything that she needed was there! God did not bring you on the stage until everything you needed was in place! That’s why it upsets you so bad when you don’t have what you need! When you woke up in the creation, you had fish in the ocean, stars in the heavens, sun in the daylight, grass growing on the ground, a man by her side, you had everything you needed! You didn’t have to worry about nothing! You were the masterpiece that came out of Adam, so awesome that He brought you out on the stage last! You are the only trace of evolution. That’s why little girls are easier potty trained than little boys: They learn more readily, and mature faster. Women tend to live longer than the man, because they are the next step in the chain.
“Woman!” He looked at her. He didn’t say anything about her eyes, nails, hips, lips, or fingertips! His attraction was not her container, it was her content! Sometimes you put a lot of effort in the wrong area. The cover of a book will draw your attention, but it is the content that keeps you coming back! If you have all kinds of beauty on the outside and you don’t have any beauty on the inside, you might draw somebody’s attention, but you will never keep him just because you got cute eyes! If he comes home every night and drives past all the thousands of women between work and home to get to you, it will not be your hips, lips, or fingertips; it will be something that he has discovered. Some hidden treasure locked up in your femininity.
Adam woke up and said, “She is bone of my bone…” Just like Ezekiels vision of the bones coming together; “ankle bone to the shin bone, shin bone to the knee bone…” Adam was saying here, “I can connect with her!” “I can relate to her!” No bone can cleave to something that is not his bone. He said, “She is bone of MY bone, and flesh of MY flesh!” Believe it or not, he is saying, “She is what I would be if I was a woman!” So, “…Whosoever loveth his wife, loveth his own flesh!” Adam is saying, “She is me, but with a womb!” He covered her! “…For this cause shall a man leave his mother and father and take unto him a wife and cleave unto her and they become one flesh!”
Let me share a little more about it. I call it God’s mathematics. His mathematics are different from anybody else’s mathematics. One plus one equals one! Only in God is that true! If you take a whole woman; cause that is what single means, to be whole; if she is whole before she gets married, not whole because she got married, but whole before she got married; if she is whole, in a one bedroom apartment by herself, cooking for herself, worshipping the Lord, dressing herself, carrying herself, loving herself; one whole woman will always be attracted to one whole man, and when they come together, they can have one whole marriage! But if you are half a woman, you won’t love a whole man, because when he tries to love you, you won’t like him, you will like some dog that’s mistreating you! You will always be attracted to somebody who is abusive! If anybody comes along and tell you, “Oh, you’re beautiful!” You won’t believe him. You will just say, “Get on out of here!” Somebody who can’t hardly stand you, you’ll be standing there just drooling. You will be telling folk that God showed you him in a dream, that he is the man for you! That’s because a half a woman, is always attracted to a half a man! If he treats her to good, she says, “Oh, he’s all right, but I don’t love him that way, he’s just like a brother!”
A half a woman goes into a relationship saying, “I’ve been abused, I’ve been mistreated, I’ve been dogged all of my life, I have all these unresolved issues in my life, I’m wounded, I’m hurt, help me please!” You go into the relationship saying, “Help me!” A half a man goes into the relationship saying, “No, you help me!” Then you get mad at us because we don’t help you, and we get mad at you because you don’t help us! A half a man plus a half a woman creates or equals a half a marriage!
Some are single because that’s the way God intends it, and that’s all right. That’s no indictment against you, but some are single because God is trying to heal you, to bring about wholeness in your life, so that you don’t’ go into a relationship like a leech. You will know you are healed, when you start caring for you! “You have to love your neighbor as you love yourself!” But if you don’t like you, I know you don’t like me! that’s how you learn how to treat other people: It’s how you treat yourself!
The women and men’s concepts of relationships are different from each other. The woman grows up with relationship conditioning. It’s Barbie and Ken form age 4 on! Barbie had a wedding dress, and Ken had a tuxedo. There she is, four years old, singing, “Here comet he bride…” That’s relationship conditioning. Men don’t relate to that. We grew up shooting Indians, killing bank robbers, playing soldier, and hunting in the woods. It’s not healthy to grow up always feeling like the epitome of success is having somebody. Then if you end up being a Barbie without a Ken, you feel incomplete. Or if you get married and you find out that you didn’t marry Ken. You married Slick Willy!
Never allow another person to define how you feel about you. You give to much power to other people. People will change on you. They will flip out on you. You cannot allow anybody to become so important to you that if they don’t like you, then you don’t like you! That’s too much power to give to anybody! Men don’t do that, that’s why you will hardly ever find a man crying about a relationship he had ten years ago. I mean, we might cry for a week-end or something, you know, but it’s women who go around saying, “Have you seen him?” Men get over things, and women can get over things too, if they quit waiting on somebody to ride up on a horse, get you out of the tower, and carry you away. So, get your Bible off the shelf, anoint yourself, minister to yourself, tell the devil he’s a liar, bind the forces of hell that are trying to take advantage of you! You can put your foot on his head in the name of Jesus! “You can do all things, through Christ which strengtheneth you….”
I know that the devil has been trying to tell you that it’s all over! That’s it’s finished, done with, you’re not going to make it, you are at the end of your rope! You have become a cheerleader for everybody else! You better put your pom-poms down, and get out on the field!
To press down who you are, and the defense mechanisms, against what you have been through, will not save you. All you do is assume your own battles, and depress who you really are. You have somebody married to somebody that they didn’t even want, hiding who they are attracted to, you are always depressed, because the person you really want to be, you’re afraid to be. As a survival mechanism, you have assumed a facade, when the Lord is saying, “The battle is not yours, it’s mine, and if you will give it to me, I’ll be your shield, your buckler, I’ll protect you and cover you, and I’ll guard your heart, without you having to become hard in order to survive.”
As we begin to deal with this issue, one of the things that is a challenge for women, is that their roles keep changing. When you are little girls, you have to be doll babies, hair done up in ringlets and curls, a bow in your hair. Then you have to go to school, and everyone knows that girls are supposed to be real smart and get great grades. And by all means, she had better be attractive. A little boy can be fat, and he can be cute, and he looks healthy, but you gonna have to put that little girl on a diet. Then all of a sudden you have to be a cheer-leader, a majorette, prettiest girl at the party, lovely all the time, weight just right, not too tall, not too short. It’s wrong to be pushed into a posture where nothing is ever good enough. Your roles change! Then it’s early twenties, “You better hurry up and get married, you gonna be an old maid!” Everyone is saying, “Are you married yet?” That’s a lot of stress. If you are not careful, you will go out and get married just so you can tell them, “Hey, I caught one!” You talk about roles changing! Then you’re married and they are saying, “You got any children yet?” Before you can adjust to living with an alien, (that’s what marriage is), now you’ve got a rug-rat running around! Now because of all those older mothers, whose kids all read at four months, and were otherwise perfect; you have to be the bionic mother! Role changing! It takes years to figure out how to do it, and about the time you get it all straightened out, the kids leave! Then you are looking across the table at somebody that you haven’t seen for twenty years because you have been looking through the veil of diapers, report cards, homework, and all that stuff. Now you look up and you are saying, “Who are you?” “Do you live here?” “You’re who?” “I don’t even know if I still like you or not!” Then about the time you get reacquainted with who you used to know, he up and dies! You talk about role changing! There you are then, with all these big pots and pans and nobody to cook for! Your roles keep on changing!
Look at what Naomi feels about it. Look at this passage in Ruth, and see how the roles keep changing.
And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara:
for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.
I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty:
why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me,
and the Almighty hath afflicted me?
The name “Naomi” means “my joy.” When they called her Naomi, she said, “Don’t call me ‘my joy,’ call me ‘bitterness,’ because I went out full, I had everything, but I came back empty!” “Now there is no pitter-patter in my house, no husband, nobody holding me, touching me, I’m weary of listening to my own words, I’m empty!” “Call me Mara, (bitterness), because life is taking from me what I thought I would have forever!” “I am bitter, because I am alone!” When your roles change, it doesn’t mean that your identity has to change! Never allow your circumstances to dictate who you are. If you were Naomi with people, then you are Naomi alone! What that old woman didn’t know was that God had another assignment for her. God was releasing her from that job so she could start this job! Her latter day was greater than her former day, because she began to pour herself into another woman and show Ruth how to make it! That’s what we need out of older women. We do not need older women who act like they’ve never been through or seen anything. Out of touch with the reality of what’s going on right now! We need some older women who have been through hell and high water, that can say, “Baby, I made it, and you can make it too!” “I know you had a baby out of wedlock, and that was wrong, but you can still make it!” “I raised two kids by myself, but you can still make it!” We need you to tell us that we can make it! Tell us! Tell us!
If Naomi doesn’t minister to Ruth, then she will die without doing what God has intended for her to do! God didn’t keep you here to intimidate younger women! Tell them how you made it! How you fed your children! How you overcame! Tell them! don’t die! Tell them! We are depending on you. Your job is not over, and you have no right to go home! “Let the elder women teach the younger.” The devil hates you, because you are the door of life in the earth-realm!