Yesterday we heard this story:
While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose.
(Matthew 9:18-25 ESV)
She touches his clothes, expecting them to heal her.
She may even be touching his clothes so he doesn’t become unclean, but I doubt anyone would have taken the chance – Jesus and everyone in the crowd should technically be unclean now..
She’s wrong, in a right kind of way! Touching Jesus’ clothes isn’t what cures her. It’s her faith, that Jesus is so powerful, so generous, that he could heal her. He says “Take heart, daughter, your faith has made you well”.
And there is an amazing reversal. She doesn’t change Jesus, making him unclean. No, he changes her, making her clean.
Jesus heals her because of her faith. This isn’t (like the calming of the sea) because she has a strong belief in something she can’t see. No, it’s that she has faith in someone she can see and touch, Jesus, who is right there. She believes this real man can help heal her very real problems.
She has faith in him, and what he’s all about. In a nutshell, she has faith in his kingdom being a better way of life than the world of misery she knows.
And in that moment, Jesus makes her dream of life in his kingdom a reality. He gives her and everyone else a glimpse of his kingdom, where there is no sickness, no pain, no alienation and loneliness.
Miracles aren’t really meant to be explained like any everyday occurrence. The whole point is that they are aberrations from the normal state of affairs.
However, that isn’t meant to last forever. In miracles we’re seeing glimpses of the way the world was meant to be, God’s perfect creation, and how it would be restored in God’s kingdom.
The word for healing in this story is rescue, and that’s what he’s done for her. It’s also what he’s doing with the entire world, in bringing about his kingdom. He’s actively bringing this about behind the scenes, and every once in a while pulls back the curtain to show us. That’s what miracles are about – he’s not going to heal everyone like this woman, but with this woman, he’s showing us that he’ll do it for all of us when his kingdom comes in its fullness!
Question: What part of “normal” life today do you wish was gone forever? Do you think God agrees?
Meeting with a Group? Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide[permalink append=”#comments”]Discuss the Challenge[/permalink]