“…a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years…”
– Luke 13:11
Luke’s research of eye witness accounts led him to this beautiful exchange between Jesus and this woman. For eighteen years, we are told, a spirit had either indwelled her or afflicted her. What it was exactly, we do not know.
The Evangelist’s reticence in this area is unusual. Since he was a physician and historian, you would think he would want to diagnose the problem. And yet, we find that he is silent in the details, only sharing that it was a spirit causing the suffering. I wonder, had Luke diagnosed the ailment, would he have attempted to share his thoughts and prescribe the remedy? If so, would he have reduced Jesus’ Deity and power over spirits to routine healing? Jesus was the only Physician that could cure this woman. It was wise that the writer withheld his thoughts. Praise God for “the prerogative of solemn reserve.”
When Jesus was twelve, our Lord followed His parents and “went down and was subject to them.” From that time until we hear “Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age,” we discover another eighteen years of the Gospel writers’ silence. The silence of His childhood. We are told that the Apocryphal Gospels, in their account of the Lord’s youth, are given over to making Jesus a “worker of frivolous and useless marvels.” They are, however, as James Stalker mentions in his book The Life of Jesus Christ, “compilations of worthless and often blasphemous fables.”
The Bible, when rightly divided, teaches us that Jesus is God in human flesh. Our Lord had no advantage over other boys growing up. When He came to earth, the Apostle Paul tells us, “He emptied Himself.” To take that away does Him dishonor and takes away from His understanding of our afflictions. He did not lay aside His Deity, only the advantages that come with His rightful position. And, He was without sin.
Sometimes in silence is where we find the most divine truth and inspiration. In the mystery of the woman’s sickness for eighteen years, we see Jesus’ Deity in the miracle. In the quietness of the eighteen years of our Lord’s development, we are exposed to His humanness. In our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we experience a God who understands our pain and can completely heal us. Just as He called this woman and treated her, may we hear Him calling us and come to Him too!
“To us the mystery of the incarnation is that deity should tabernacle in humanity; but to the celestial ones the mystery of it is that humanity should be the tabernacle of deity.”
– W.M. Taylor