15 August 2014

Breaking the Law to Get to Jesus

As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”-Luke 8:42b-48

I love this story! A woman broken, poor, and rejected broke the law to get to Jesus. According to the Mosaic law (Leviticus 15:19-31), during her period, a woman was unclean and if her discharge continues, not during menstruation, her uncleanness continues. This woman had been unclean for 12 years. Twelve years where everything she touched was defiled. Twelve years where anyone she had contact with became unclean. Don't miss the fact that in this story, she had to break the Mosaic law to get to Jesus. Even though the story doesn't mention it, do not think for a moment that the ever-present Pharisees and Scribes missed the significance of this woman's behavior.

But my favorite part about this story is not that Jesus was able to heal her physically. Sometimes, I think we get lost in awe at his physical healing, which is undoubtedly miraculous.  Yet there was no compelling reason for Jesus to turn around and seek her out. Even before he turned to find her in the crowd, she knew she had been healed. 

My favorite part of the story is the relational connection that Jesus makes with her. He ignores the throng of people around him and turns to her. He finds this specific woman. He offers no judgment for her breaking the law. He does not use her as an example to show what an awesome healer he is. He turns to her to connect, to let her know that she matters more than her physical state.  This woman, who he called "daughter", was valuable to him.  To me, that was so much more important than physical healing and evidence of the New Covenant. It seems that Jesus is saying to her, "I know you broke the law, but there is something greater here."

Do you ever wonder what her next day was like? Or the next week?  She carried herself with a new confidence, not just because her frustrating, chronic health condition that kept her from connection was now healed, but because she knew that she mattered to someone, that she belonged. 

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