A Crooked Woman Healed; The Prodigal Son
Luke 13:11 to Luke 15:32
In the parable Jesus told, the Prodigal Son is lowered to caring for a farmer’s hogs.
JESUS NOW TAUGHT in the cities and villages where the seventy had gone to preach and to heal the sick. In one city he found a crooked woman in the synagog on the Sabbath-day. This poor woman had not been able to straighten herself for eighteen years, but was stopped over in a pitiful manner.
When Jesus saw her he pitied her. Calling her to him, he said, “Woman, you are set free from this infirmity, which has bound you so many years.” Then he laid his hands upon her bent back and immediately she was able to stand straight again.
The woman was very happy, and she praised God because she had been made well. But the ruler of the synagog was displeased with Jesus for healing her on the Sabbath. He said, “There are six days when men ought to work; therefore let the sick come to be healed on those days, and not on the Sabbath.”
But Jesus replied, “You are only pretending to be careful to please God. Do you not loose your ox and your ass and lead them to water on the Sabbath day? And should not this poor woman, who is a daughter of Abraham, be loosed on the Sabbath-day from this infirmity with which she has been bound by Satan for eighteen years?”
The enemies of Jesus were ashamed when they heard his wise reply, and the other people praised God with loud voices because they had seen his wonderful works.
One day some of the Pharisees came to Jesus and pretended to be friendly. They told him that Herod, the King, was seeking to take his life just as he had caused John the Baptist to be put to death. They urged Jesus to leave the country at once, and go far away, lest herod find him and kill him. They hoped in this manner to be rid of Jesus.
But Jesus did not feel afraid of Herod. He knew that his greatest enemies were among the Jews, and among the religious rulers of the Jews. They hated him because he taught the poor people and because he told them about their sins.
Now he said to these Pharisees: “Go to Herod and tell him that I cast out evil spirits and heal the sick today and tomorrow, and on the third day, I shall be made perfect. For I must walk today and tomorrow and even the day following, for it can not be that a prophet shall perish outside of Jerusalem.” Jesus meant that just as the Jews had killed God’s prophets in other days, so they and not Herod would cause him to be put to death.
Many publicans and sinners followed Jesus, to hear his words. And the Pharisees and scribes found fault, saying, “This man receives sinners and even eats with them.”
Jesus knew how they were complaining about him, and he spoke to the people by parables. First he told them the parable about the Lost Sheep. Because the Jews kept many sheep he knew they would understand the story.
“What man of you,” he asked, “having a hundred sheep would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and seek for the one that was lost? And when he finds it he will bring it back and rejoice more over the sheep than over the ninety-nine which did not wander away. So it is in heaven when a sinner repents and forsakes his sins; there is more rejoicing over him than over ninety-nine just persons who have no sin.”
There were women in the crowd listening to Jesus’ words. And Jesus saw them there, so he told a story which they might understand. “What woman,”he asked, “having ten pieces of silver and losing one of them will not forget about the nine and search carefully through the house until she find the missing piece? And when she finds it she tells her neighbors and friends, and asks them to rejoice with her because she has found the piece that was lost. So also,” said Jesus, “there is rejoicing in heaven when one lost sinner comes to God.
Both the men and the women were listening very carefully now, and Jesus told the parable about the unthankful son who left his father’s house and went to live among strangers. This is the story:
“A certain man had two sons, and the younger son was not contented to remain at home with his father and his brother. He asked that his father divide the money which would some day be given to him and to his brother and give to him at once the part that would be his. So the father divided the money, and the younger son took his part and went away. He thought he was very rich, and he spent his money freely. He enjoyed every pleasure that he knew, and he seemed to have many friends. But after a while he spent all his money and he had nothing left. Then he grew hungry; but his friends left him and refused to help.
“In his trouble the young man offered to care for a farmer’s hogs, but he could scarcely keep from starving. And no man pitied him, or gave him any decent food to eat.
“Then the young man remembered his father, and the hired servants who worked in his father’s house. He knew those servants were well cared for. He decided to return to his father’s house and ask to be made a servant there. So he returned to his home country to beg his father’s forgiveness and to ask permission to be only a servant in the old home.
“That father loved his wandering boy, and his heart was sad when the boy left him to live among strangers. Every day he longed for the boy to come back. And when at last he saw his son coming, clothed in rags, he ran out to meet him and wept for joy. The boy began to speak; he said, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you–‘; but he had no opportunity to tell the father how he wished to become a servant in the old home, for the father commanded a servant to go quickly and bring the best clothes and dress the young man in them, and to prepare a feast of gladness, for the lost had been found.
“The elder son was in the field at work. When he returned to the house and saw the excitement he asked the servants what had happened. They told him that his brother had come back again. And the elder son was displeased and would not go in to see his brother. Then his father came out and told him the glad news, but still he was displeased. ‘I have served you faithfully all these years and you do not rejoice over me,’ said the unhappy man, ‘and now when my brother comes back from his riotous living you rejoice greatly over him.’
“Now the father understood that his elder son was jealous of his brother. He said, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that I have is yours. Whenever you wished you could prepare a feast; but your brother has been to me like one dead, and now he is alive again. And it is right that we should be merry because he has returned to be with us again; for he was lost, but is found.'”