We’re having a fabulous Friday! And we are ready to say goodbye to 2010!
About midway through Jesus’ ministry, as always the crowd was hemming him in. Luke said it almost crushed him. That sounds like the race letting out at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Then Jesus made an odd statement. He said someone had touched him.
Peter responded that he didn’t doubt it. As thick as the crowd was around him, it could have been anyone.
But Jesus turned and faced a woman who had a bleeding disorder for 12 years. Luke tells us she trembled in the presence of our Lord.
She stated that she knew if she could only touch the hem of his garment, she could be healed. Jesus told her that her faith made her well. [Luke 8:43-44]
What is odd about this story is that in Jesus’ world, a woman with this sort of physical disorder would have been a total outcast. It would have been deduced that she must have sinned in some fashion for her to have such a chronic illness. She would have been shunned from family and friends. Also, she would not have been allowed to go to church. She would not have been worthy enough to enter the temple. The text says for 12 years.
By stopping and noticing the bleeding woman, Jesus was validating her in the presence of countless others. Jesus noticed and acknowledged that the woman had value.
In many ways, Christians have gotten things all turned around backwards. We don’t come to church because we are healthy and blameless. We don’t come to church because we are better than others or because we are worthier than someone else. We do not come to church because church attendance looks good on our social resume. We come to church because we are the opposite of all these things. We are broken and in dire need of some glue.
In Jesus’ day, the church rejected the poor, bent, broken and battered. The thinking back in the day was that someone had sinned and their brokenness was as a result of some sort of failure. The only thing wrong with this sort of thinking is “them are us!” All of us have sinned. All of us fall short of perfection. That’s why we need a savior in the first place. All any of us really need is a hunger to get well. Our hunger is our ticket in; it is the password that allows us access to the grace of Christ.
Tomorrow begins a brand new year. All of us most likely have some resolutions in mind. I think I will go on a diet and lose weight! Hahahahah! But seriously, one thing we can all count on in 2011 is Jesus will be there ready to embrace us, encourage us and empower us. Let’s count on the three “e’s” and move on towards perfection.