Friday, May 8, 2015

Reaching for Jesus

Then Jesus asked, "Who touched me?" When all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you." 46 But Jesus said, "Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me." 47 When the woman saw 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. 48 He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."
When she saw that she couldn't remain hidden, she came trembling and falling down before him and told everyone what happen.

When she realized she couldn't hide anymore, she came out of the shadows.    I have to wonder, and I can't be the only one, if Jesus really didn't consciously know who had touched him.   I believe on some level he did know, on the same level that he was and is God he had to, but I wonder if he knew at the forefront of his consciousness and asked the question anyway.

Part of me doesn't think so.  Part of me thinks the comment about the power going out of him gives him away.  He didn't know.  Not in the way he knew where he was headed that day, not in the way he knew what street he was headed down.   He didn't immediately know who had touched him or why.  The power still went out of him though, and that power healed the woman who just couldn't stop bleeding.   On an unconscious level, the Son of God responded to her need.   She didn't dare ask him outright, because as  bleeding woman she was unclean.  No man was supposed to touch or be touched by her, because it was, you know, that kind of bleeding.  Woman bleeding.   He was a rabbi and he just wasn't supposed to do that.   So she followed her instincts, probably less than consciously, and literally reached out to Jesus.

Sometimes we just have to do that.   We behave improperly, often without thinking, out of our deepest need.   Once the words come out, once you say it outloud, once you reach out your hand and touch someone's clothing you can't put the genie back in the bottle.  You just can't.  If you're fortunate, the response is as Jesus' was.   "Daughter, your faith has healed you, go in peace."  It's okay,  You didn't steal anything.   Reading the rest of the gospel passage for today, I'm sure for half a second she thought she'd stolen the healing for the little girl, like grace is in limited supply.   Thank God it isn't, because not long after that, the Lord is in another unfortunate woman's house, restoring her to life and telling her parents to give the poor kid something to eat.  God doesn't react badly to us reaching out and taking grace.  It's lovely that he doesn't.  Even when we aren't behaving ourselves, if it's coming from an honest place, our deepest need, the Lord is gracious.

I'm going to  be bold and say we should be gracious too.  That we should recognize, without fear, when one of our brothrs and sisters have reached out and taken hold of Jesus.  I understand the need to be cautious.  You're reading the words of a woman who has gotten down on her hands knees to pick up crumbs from communion for fear of them ending up in the vacuum cleaner.  I get it.   Time and time again though, scripture shows us that God values people above rules.   When we reach out and grasp for God, we're not disappointed.  We should recognize that reaching, that desperation in other people, and not punish it.

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