Exploring the biblical theology of Christian egalitarianism

Luke 13 Jesus and the crippled woman

Jesus and the Bent Over Woman
By artist Barbara Schwarz OP
Used with permission of the artist.

Jesus Sets Free a Daughter of Abraham

Luke 13:10-17 CSB*

As he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath, a woman was there who had been disabled by a spirit (literally: had a spirit of disability) for over eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called out to her, “Woman, you are free of your disability.” Then he laid his hands on her, and instantly she was restored and began to glorify God.

But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, responded by telling the crowd, “There are six days when work should be done; therefore come on those days and be healed and not on the Sabbath day.”

But the Lord answered him and said, “Hypocrites! Doesn’t each one of you untie his ox or donkey from the feeding trough on the Sabbath and lead it to water? Satan has bound this woman, a daughter of Abraham, for eighteen years—shouldn’t she be untied from this bondage on the Sabbath day?”

When he had said these things, all his adversaries were humiliated, but the whole crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things he was doing.

*The Christian Standard Bible
© 2017 Holman Bible Publishers
Source: Bible Gateway

About the Story and the Image

I saw this painting shared on Facebook this week and was deeply moved by it. Jesus really did come down to our level when he was on earth. He did this so he could then lift us up, closer to his level. And I love the implicit message in the story: be like Jesus. Use whatever gift or ability you have to free and care for others. Be generous with your love and care for people, especially for those who are suffering. Don’t be like the leader of the synagogue who was rigid, stingy, and more concerned about regulations.

I asked the artist Barbara Schwarz, a Dominican Sister, if I could post her artwork on my website so that I and interested readers can look at it any time we want. She agreed. It is acrylic on canvas and was painted in 2014. Barbara’s website is www.artafire.homestead.com Where Art and Spirituality meet! Prints of this painting can be purchased here.


Ian Paul looks at the layers of the story of Jesus and the bent over woman, including a fascinating idea about the number 18, on his website here.
My articles on Jesus and his wonderful interactions with women are here.

6 thoughts on “Jesus and the Bent Over Woman (Luke 13:10-17)

  1. Marg, what a beautiful painting to go along with this story. Fantastic!

    1. I think it’s special.

  2. Very nice article and very suitable painting for the message. Jacob, India.

    1. Thanks, Jacob.

  3. I love Barbara’s artwork! I used this piece a couple of years ago (with her permission and a donation to the ministry she is a part of) for Visio Divina based on this passage during a chapel homily I gave at The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. I use it often with my directees during Spiritual Direction. It is a powerful painting and pericope.

    1. 🙂 I gave Barbara a donation too.

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