Refers Luke 13:1-17

v4. Jesus Himself brought up the account of the 18 upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed, in response to a report brought by some in the crowd about the tragic death of some Galileans. Jesus knew and recalled the exact number (18), down to the last one, who lost their life whilst being in unrepentance and who perished. Jesus cared. Jesus also cared enough to say “…but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

In v11, we read of the account of the woman, who was seen by Jesus in one of the synagogues that Jesus went to teach in, who had had a sickness caused by a spirit, whom Satan bound for, “just think of it”, 18 long years, and she was bent double and could not straighten up at all. Jesus healed her, and she stood erect again and began glorifying God.

What is the connection the Holy Spirit is pointing out between these two incidents that involve the number “18”? Jesus after all, had invited us to “just think of it” as the fuller Greek meaning in the text implies. The (unwritten about in this passage) disciples were the only common audience in both scenes. The first, with Jesus and the crowds outside (12:54) and then, with the crowd inside the synagogue. What were they to make of these things? 18 people and 18 years.

I would like to suggest just some comparisons between the two:

The tower was upright and was brought down. The woman was bent over and became erect again.

The 18 lost their freedom. After 18 years, the woman regained hers.

The unrepentant 18 are now bound by satan. This woman who was bound by satan, is freed by Jesus.

The 18 were found within a tower.  This one was found within a synagogue.

The 18 were “residents” of Jerusalem (and the Galileans of Galilee)- “earth-dwellers”. This woman was a Daughter of Abraham (by faith, just passing through).

Sandwiched between these two accounts Jesus began telling the crowd a parable about not finding fruit on a fig tree after looking for this fruit after three years. Obviously referring to His three year ministry to that point toward the unfruitful Jews, the reply from the “Vine-dresser” however, was to leave the tree alone for one more year until it had been dug around and manure applied (That year! The year of His coming crucifiction, where He Himself was to be put on a tree that had been “dug around” and in whom was received the “manure”-the sin of the world in Himself, enabling lasting fruit to truly come, of which He was the frist fruits!), and if it bears fruit after one year, but if not, cut it down (and in the Greek “you will cut it out”). Keep in mind that for every one year that the woman was bent over of the 18 years total to that point, there was we could say (represented) one year of each of the lives of the 18 people killed-their last years. As it relates to the parable told, it would seem that each of the 18 “unfruitful” (and unrepentant) people killed had had their ‘one (last) year‘ extra to that point of proving their repentance, but did not. Remember John the Baptizer saying to the hard-hearted Pharisees, that they produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And so these 18 (who became an example and a warning to everyone else), were, (after their ‘chance’ of one more year) “cut down”.

In the spirtual way of things towers or buildings are not so much “built” as they are “grown”. (You are living stones). Hence there is an image parallel being cast between the tower, the fig tree and lastly in verses 18-20, the mustard tree, revealing in simple terms, the stark contrast of which “camp” one chooses to be in and remain in, and God’s plan of redemption for Man from the rebellious, unrepentant doings of the men associated with the (Babel-like) tower, to Israel (the fig tree) chosen of God, through whom the whole world would be blessed, and then culminating in the vast (mustard) tree, which Jesus likened and compared to the kingdom of God.  All in all, the transition occurs from the kingdoms of this world to the kingdom of God and of His Christ!

Could it be that this one woman, who couldn’t see Jesus, but who was seen by Him, was of more value than those 18 unrepentant ones? This bent over one was seen to be of more usefulness for the kingdom of God than the 18 able-bodied ones who were associated with a tower for their strength. Remember Babel. But as it is recorded in Psalm 18, it is written, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.” The Lord became for the woman, her strong tower and refuge that she could run into-upright!

Did you know that the Hebrew word for “alive” is chai, which has a numerical value of 18. The chet or chai is the traditional symbol of “life” and of “sin”. Can you see the pointed irony with this meaning and the events that unfolded involving the 18, and with the woman?

This Hebrew word for 18 is made up of two Hebrew letters,  heth (or chet) and yod. Heth has the value of 10 and yod the value of 8, making a summary total of 18 for the word.

Behold, the actual Hebrew letters with their numbers here below!

Chet= Heth = 10

Yod= Yod = 8

Do you see a “tower” (10) and a woman “bent over” (8)?! The images are very similar in Aramaic too! See for yourself. Then check out the Greek of these two numbers and be surprised at what you see there! What has changed? Whilst these images of a tower and a bent woman are not the correctly associated images for these Hebrew letters, it is still a curious thing that they reflect in picture form, the word and the number 18, with the associated images of the passage in Luke, that Jesus asked his disciples to consider, and the Holy Spirit invites us to investigate.

Jesus Christ knows. Jesus Christ sees. Jesus Christ heals. Jesus Christ restores. Humble yourself under the Most High God. Repent and be set free!

 

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