Since my two volumes of Jonathan Edwards "Blank Bible" have been complimented with my "Notes on Scripture" - I have come to deeply appreciate again and again this form of pastoral and more experiential "commentary" on various Scriptures as opposed to my more academic commentaries. And it has given me a renewed passion to steadily add to the "Glory and Grace Blank Bible" blog I set up last year. I am glad I didn't simply limit it to the "Rob Rufus Blank Bible" as I had a suspicion that other preachers such as Ryan Rufus or Bill Johnson would have something to add. And indeed I've added some quotes from Alec Moyter and Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones!
Last night I finished writing the transcript of Rob's third sermon in the "Established in the Gift of Righteousness" series - Part 1 is published here - (I just need more time at a computer - am believing God for a laptop I can take to work!). And there was an incredible commentary that Rob gave on the passage in Luke 11 concerning the crippled woman. It may quite possibly be the longest entry into the "Glory and Grace Blank Bible" but WOW is it worth it! I sat there with tears running down my face wondering how I DARED pride myself on coming from a "Word" church and never seeing the insights that were so obviously there!
Here it is;
(Luke 13:16) "And this woman, a daughter of Abraham" - Abraham had been dead for near 2, 000 years. "... as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years" - Jesus could have said '18 years' - but He said 'long' - He is making a point. " ... should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?" - now that is the law.
How did this woman find out that she was a daughter of Abraham? Those synagogues would have been full when Jesus was preaching. The woman would have sat at the back and she was bowed over and crippled for 18 long years! It wasn't by God but by Satan. As a woman in a chavanistic society - Jesus wouldn't have even been able to see her. But while He is preaching, He is preaching about Abraham.
Jesus would have preached the law to the self-righteous and would have preached Abraham to the broken and to the hungry.
How did she find out that she was a daughter of Abraham? It was the content of His message. He would have been telling them about the covenant of grace. He preached first to remove unbelief and wrong thinking. That is why long preaching is good! Thinking needs to be changed!
(vv7-9); "'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down!" - He is talking about a fig tree that needs to be cut down because it is not producing any fruit. The fig tree represents Israel under law. There are two trees that represent Israel. The olive tree and the fig tree. The fig tree represents the death under law. The abscence of the supernatural, dead religion. Adam and Eve covered themselves up with fig leaves. Jesus cursed a fig tree in Mark 11. If you want to talk about the supernatural and the line of Abraham in Israel - then look at the olive tree.
The olive tree is the life of God. If you go to Romans 9:7, 11:1 - you will see it talks about the descendents of Abraham - not all are descended from Isaac. He had Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was born through human effort and the flesh and Isaac was born through the power of the Spirit in the supernatural of God. In Romans 11:17-24 he says we Gentiles have been grafted into the olive tree.
The olive tree is the anointing - the life of God.
If you read the context going back to Romans 9 then he is saying about not the law - the olive tree is a result of Abraham!
True Israelites are descendents of Abraham - not descendants of the law but the faith that Abraham had! We are not grafted into the fig tree but the olive tree. We have got Christians today trying to get grafted into the fig tree. How will Israel get saved if we get grafted into the fig tree of law?! They will envy us and get saved when we get saved and grafted into the inheritance of Abraham - the olive tree!
So Jesus is preaching Abraham! But when He gets with the arrogant self-righteous He lays the law on them big time to expose how arrogant they are. That they are NOT keeping it!
Don't take the outlandish things that Jesus says in the Gospels and say I have got to live by that. See the context is that He is saying it to arrogant people! Christians say; "That is the new law of the New Covenant! Jesus is preaching under the Old Covenant that you must not commit adultery but under the New Covenant even if you look at someone with lust then you have committed it!". Oh pleaseeeeeee! There is no faith in that! We are ALL dead if that is the case!
He was preaching Abraham however to the broken and hungry for God.
(v10); "He was teaching in one of the synagogues" - Jesus taught, explained and unpacked truth! (v11); " ... she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all" - You will never be able to straighten up under the law. (v12); "When Jesus saw her" - How did Jesus see her? She was sitting at the back, crippled and bent over! "Woman, you are freed from your sickness" - He is speaking in past tense but she is still bent over! (v13); "immediately she was made erect again and began glorifying God".
As Jesus was preaching the wonder of Abraham, suddenly in this woman's mind she realised this - "I don't have to be a daughter of the law! Abraham's covenant is still available! I don't have to go to God through the law - I can come to God through Abraham!". And I can imagine that she got a little bit angry. She probably thought; "I have never heard the synagogue rulers tell me that I am a daughter of Abraham. All they told me is that I am a daughter of the law. They told me that to get the blessing I have got to keep the law and deserve it and be good enough and they told me the reason I am sick is that God is against me and punishing me!".
But she said; "Today I realise I am a daughter of Abraham - and this means I can get healed today without deserving it!". Today I can get out of financial debt without deserving it! Today I can get out of depression without deserving it! Today I can get out of bondage and addiction without deserving it!
When you reason in your heart that I can get the blessing without deserving it then you are thinking the thoughts of faith - you are thinking faith! The law is not based on faith. The law would tell you to forget about faith; "Just get good enough to deserve it!".
When you preach Abraham - people realise they can get the blessing without deserving it! That is what produces faith!
Her FAITH got Jesus' attention!
Smith Wigglesworth said that God will ignore 10 million people that don't have faith and find the one in the crowd that does have faith. There was a whole synagogue full but Jesus found the one woman. She was sitting there thinking; "Wow I am a daughter of Abraham - I am not a daughter of the law! I can get things from the Father who loves me - things I don't deserve! They are available NOW!".
This is the tragedy although the story ends well. On the first day that this daughter of Abraham got sick - healing was available that day. The 2nd year healing was available. The 3rd year, the 4th year. Because only when she had a clear message on grace did healing kick in.
For 18 "long" years she had no capacity to have faith for her healing because the law is not based on faith.
She saw herself now as a daughter of Abraham. 18 years of bondage ended the day she understood grace. 18 years of bondage ended the day she understood I am no longer a daughter of the law but He is calling me a daughter of Abraham.
I HATE it when I hear people saying that miracles are only for a certain time - one day in the right time. The right time for this lady was 18 "long" years ago! Why did Jesus say "18 long years"? Isn't it amazing that Grace Himself said; "Should not this daughter of Abraham be healed on the Sabbath?". Why is He saying that? And who is He saying that to?
He is saying that to the synagogue rulers. Jesus is saying it to the law people who have robbed the church of faith. Should not this person have come out of financial debt? Should not this person have a healing in their body? Should not they get a better job? Should not they prosper? He is saying that they SHOULD but you are saying that they should NOT!
All heaven is obligated once they come out of law and rise up in faith - then heaven can't help but be obligated to heal! Those who are of Abraham's faith are blessed along with Abraham - when the law is taken off people then we can get them all healed.
18 long years. 18 is the number of bondage. It is the number in Scripture for captivity. In the book of Judges it says Israel went into captivity for 18 years. 6 - 6 - 6 = 18. 3 = perfection. 6 = human pride and human effort. What is the mark of the Beast? Legalism. Babylonian religion and dead works. Not the Gospel or the Old Covenant! This woman was "bowed over" by a demonic spirit. She attended that church for years and the Pharisees didn't help her. They made her a daughter of the law. When Jesus came she discovered she was a daughter of Abraham.
What was she looking at for 18 years? Dust. The Bible says in the book of Genesis - He says to the serpant Satan - "Dust shall you eat". The woman spent 18 years looking at the food of Satan. 6 - 6 - 6. All she saw was human effort. People's feet. The food of Satan. When Jesus touched her with grace, the first face she saw in 18 "long" years was Jesus the Messiah! When you live under law you spend your life psychologically looking at dust - human effort - condemnation - disappointment and struggle.
When the revelation comes that you are a daughter of Abraham - when that comes, you will see that lovely Face every day shining on you and you will move in a new realm of freedom and glory.
Can you believe these synagogue rulers tried to oppose Jesus and stop Him bringing a member of their congregation out of bondage?! That is how the religious demon has opposed us as we preach this message consistently!
A pastor in that synagoguee tried to oppose grace to keep a member of his congregation crippled in the name of religion!
(v14); "But the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath". (v15); "But the Lord answered him and said, "You hypocrites!".
Don't you like Jesus' attitude to religious people?! He doesn't get sweet and back off! He just says; "You hypocrites!". This is the Jesus we love! I love Him!
(v17); "As He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him" - In any culture Jesus was not afraid of humiliating people that oppose grace because His eyes were on the broken multitudes that need grace. He didn't hold a board meeting and discuss law and grace - He just preached grace and produced faith in the people.
I promise you this lady would not have got healed if Jesus had preached the law there - because the law is not based on faith. He preached Abraham and she realised in that flash of revelation - that I am a daughter of Abraham and that God will give me what I DON'T deserve!