If I only…

Matthew 9:18-22

18While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” 19Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.

20Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”

22Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.

This is probably one of the most moving portions of Scripture to me, personally.  Definitely top 5.  This and the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears.  I nearly sob almost every time I read them because I see myself in these women.

This woman, though… since blood made one ritually unclean, she was ostracized from her community.  No one would touch her because then they would be unclean.  For 12 years.

No hugs.  Likely few meals with family.  She would not have been allowed in the temple to worship.  Cut off from most of society.  The loneliness she felt must have been horrible.  It is almost incomprehensible to me.

Then she hears about this Jesus.  She heard about his miracles.  His teaching.  His healing.   She likely knew the prophecy of Isaiah 53:5 which says “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Perhaps Jesus was wearing his prayer shawl, which has stripes on the bottom.  With great determination, she fought her way through the crowd, thinking over and over ‘If I can get to his cloak, his shawl… I will be healed.  I believe he can and will do this.’

I Peter 2:24 repeats the same promise but with the past tense.  Since by that writing, Jesus had already ascended to heaven, the work was done.  It is finished.  Our healing came through Him.  The stripes of the Roman lash on his back brought and bought our healing, our forgiveness.

“By his wounds, we are healed.”

But how do we cut off people the same way for different stuff?  For the junk in their past, we keep them at arms length.  Associating with them might make us ‘dirty.’

I want to learn from Jesus’ example and go where He went – to the people who were unloved, left behind, and shunned for whatever reason… health, social, behavioral, economically and love them as He has loved me.

And that means love pretty much everyone because we’ve all been there.


One comment

  1. rev222 · April 2, 2009

    I too have always loved these verses and it seems to me that each time I read them something new captivates my imagination. Today as I was reading your blog and reflecting on your thoughts regarding these these passages I was touched. I began to think about how beautiful the use of the word daughter is in this particular portion of Scripture. I realized that this text is very much the tale of two daughters- the ruler’s daughter who is supposedly the important one and an unnamed woman who would have been viewed as an inconsequential outcast. When Jesus looks down and sees the woman trembling with fear after she touches the hem of his prayer shawl, as she surely must have been frightened and perhaps even embarrassed when Jesus realized what had happened. I imagine the alienation and the loneliness she must have felt as the pain of twelve years culminated in that brief moment of relief as she kneels at Jesus feet. I notice especially how the savior addresses her hurt, and ours, with the healing tenderness of a single word, “Daughter.” How lovely and precious a word this is for the woman in this story- she is not a condition, she not an outcast nor an untouchable she IS a daughter of God. How lovely and precious the word truly is- a declaration that each person no matter who they are or where they come from are welcomed in the kingdom of God.

    Thank you so much for your reflection:-)

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