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Day 32—Thursday, March 21

Luke 8:43-48

Now there was a woman who had been suffering from a flow of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, and immediately her flow of blood stopped. Then Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds are hemming you in and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I noticed that power had gone out from me.” When the woman realized that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him and how she had been immediately healed. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

In a clamoring crowd was a bleeding, suffering, and desperate woman. Because of her condition, she was ceremonially unclean. She was prohibited by law from handling money or food, nor was she allowed to participate in communal worship. She was legally separated from the community. If she touched others, she defiled them. For twelve years she had suffered physically, socially, and undoubtedly mentally. She was stigmatized. Avoided. Consistent with the common belief and religious teaching of her day, her suffering was the result of sin. So, on top of everything else, she was judged.

Did she have a husband? If so, did he abandon her? What about children? Did she lose them or give them up because she wasn’t allowed to touch them or prepare their meals? Who would have anything to do with her?

This woman’s condition and experience, like every person’s, was much more complicated than just the fact that she had a physical ailment. And while she and her condition were dismissed by many as, obviously, what she deserved, Jesus judged her differently. In fact, he didn’t judge her at all.

As Jesus traveled the county teaching and healing, word spread fast that even if the sick just touched Jesus’ clothing, they were healed. Jesus didn’t have to touch them. He didn’t have to pray over them. One didn’t have to be singled out and spotlighted publicly to receive healing. This was perfect for this penniless, shamed, and shunned suffering woman. She was fully convinced that if she could but touch Jesus’ clothing (without being noticed!), she would be healed.

The woman’s faith in Jesus – in his power, but also in his compassion and openness to everyone – emboldened her to challenge the barriers that stood between her and him, between her and healing.

And Jesus insisted – despite the desperate, thronging crowd -- on personally and intentionally seeing the woman: a person of worth and dignity and as loved by God as any other. He didn’t pay attention to her uncleanness, her poverty, her presumed sinfulness, or how others (even the law and society) regarded her. Nor did he allow himself to be influenced by how he may be judged if he ignored religious and cultural norms. He loved her. He welcomed touch by the untouchable. And he healed her. It happened because she rejected barriers and stubbornly sought Jesus, and because Jesus rejected barriers to extend the love of God.

God insists on personally and intentionally seeing each of us. Regardless of our condition. Regardless of our place in society. Whether we are embraced by the church community or excluded from it. God loves everyone, and he wants all to find healing.

Unconditionally and universally loving God, remind me when I forget that you love me regardless. Remind me when I forget you love others regardless. Help me to see and reach beyond barriers. Give me courage to love and serve others as Jesus did – regardless. Amen.

-David Moorman



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