February 2, 2012 – Devotion Sharing (Luke 8)

Submitted by Jesse K. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

Luke 8:40-48

  • Why does Jesus want to know who touched him?  

After the sick woman touches the edge of Jesus’ cloak, he stops and asks, “Who touched me?”  By this point in time, the text says that woman was already healed of her bleeding, and yet Jesus makes it a point to ask her to step out from the anonymity of the crowd.

Why does Jesus do this?  Perhaps it is because Jesus wanted to connect with the woman on a personal level.  Maybe he wanted the sick woman to know that he wanted to heal her.  If Jesus had just continued on, the sick woman may have never known Jesus in the personal way that she does.  Jesus would have remained some rabbi from whom she sneaked a healing from.

So Jesus singles her out, listens to her explain her story, and says to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace.”  How shocking this must have been for the woman.  The woman fell at Jesus’ feet trembling as she explained herself, probably awaiting some sort of punishment, to be met with such tender words, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace.”  After this kind of personal encounter with Jesus, this woman must have walked away not just healed from the physical affliction she suffered for 12 years, but she must also walked away emotionally and spiritually healed as well.

  • How must the woman have felt when Jesus asked who touched him?  

The sick woman must have felt terrified.  The text says that, “47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet…” She fell trembling at Jesus feet.  The bleeding woman must have felt terrified of the crowd and their disgust/disdain at her being ceremonially unclean.  She must have felt terrified that her shame was on public display.  She must have felt terrified of Jesus, thinking that he would condemn her.

  • Think about how the woman must have felt as she was going home. 

She must have felt so free.  She was set free from physical burden and pain of 12 years of bleeding.  And not just that, but she was also set free from the emotional baggage–the sense of dirtiness, the shame, the sense that she’s worthless and hopeless–that she must have been carrying for 12 years.  The weight of all these burdens are lifted off her shoulders as she hears Jesus call her “Daughter,” and tells her to “Go in peace.”

I imagine it was the same kind of freedom that I felt when first became Christian, and the freedom that I feel as I confess and receive the same kind of healing and forgiveness from God.  In these times of confession, though I’m not healed from any physical ailment, I’m healed of the burden of guilt and the relational sundering that my sins cause.  And this woman must have felt something like that as she walked back home.

  • What is the significance of the fact that Jesus stopped for this woman while Jairus’s daughter was dying?

The fact that Jesus stops for this woman shows his care and his love for this sick woman, who the rest of world probably relegated to the corner of society.  The text says that Jairus was a ruler of the synagogue.  He was an important man with a lot of influence.  And so to place a man like that on pause to hear out the sick woman’s story, and to call her “daughter,” would have communicated so much to that woman.  It shows that with God, there are no favorites.  Jesus calls Jarius’ daughter, “My child,” and he calls the sick woman, “daughter.”  Whether you are the daughter of a ruler, or whether you are one of the forgotten of society, God still considers each of them his beloved children.

  • In this large crowd of people, it was only this woman who had a meaningful contact with Jesus that day.  What was the crucial difference between the crowd and this woman?

The crucial difference was that she stepped out from the anonymity and the safety of the crowd and connected with Jesus.  She could have remained silent, allowing the moment to pass.  And sure, she would still been healed, but she would have never personally connected with Jesus.  Instead, the woman owns up to what she’s done, confesses and tells the story of her life and is able to receive acceptance, healing and love from Jesus.  By stepping out, confessing and acknowledging the truth, she’s able to walk away healed and with a fresh connection with Jesus.

For me, this kind of choice presents itself often.  I’m here, I read and hear God’s word being spoken every week and every day.  Yet, like this week’s previous devotions covered, just because I hear it doesn’t mean that I’m connected with God’s word.  It’s up to me whether of not I’m going to listen to God’s word from a safe distance like the crowd–approaching it purely intellectually.  It’s so much easier to watch from afar and dismiss God’s word as just head knowledge.  But God wants to connect with me personally like he did with the bleeding woman.  And like this previous week’s passages on the sower talked about, I need to ensure that I am the good soil which allows God’s word to sink in roots and produce a crop.

Submitted by Jin K. of Gracepoint Berkeley Church

As I read this text, I can’t help but to think about what Jairus must have been going through. Normally, I skim over his name and go straight to the bleeding woman. And obviously, there are good reasons for this because of all the drama she must have faced for 12 long arduous years. How demoralizing it must have been to be a social outcast with no hope of ever being healed. And then having to pull the brakes on an urgent situation of someone passing away, a precious 12-year-old daughter. And then go through the awkward and self-loathing practice of confession before everyone, feeling their impatience and anticipating rejection from Jesus. And then experiencing the sweetness and gentleness of Jesus by being called daughter. There are so many spiritual lessons to draw from here.

But this time, I can’t help but to think about Jairus who faced a very tragic and emotionally painful situation. He was desperate and vulnerable and pleaded with Jesus to please come and save his only daughter. Everyone else tried to heal her but no one else could. He must have been so happy when Jesus agreed. He also must have been very anxious as the crowd kept on getting in the way. And even more so when the whole procession stopped because of the bleeding woman. From hope to anxiety to then devastation when he received the news that his daughter was now dead- everything happened so quickly and the roller coaster of feelings he experienced probably left him in a mess. Yet Jesus assured him that in the midst of this tragedy, in the time of this painful loss, that there would be healing, that Jairus need not be afraid. And in this case, Jesus vindicates the circumstances by doing the unthinkable and raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead. This probably was the last thing that Jairus thought would happen.

But whether by good outcomes or tragic ones, what I do know is that God does comfort and that he does vindicate. Whatever the resulting end may be, confusing and painful as they can get, I do know that Jesus is near, that he vindicates, that he encourages me to not be afraid and to believe that he can bring me through the storm. Despite all the experiences of pain I’ve experienced personally and collectively with others, I know this very well and firsthand. Yet still deep within my heart is a default movement away from pain. From tragedies placed upon me, I have no choice but to face them because they’re unavoidable. But in my more “regular” life, one pain I have the choice to embrace and allow God to bring healing, increase my faith, and experience his vindication, is in the area of confession. For me, there is nothing more humiliating than confessing to someone, whether it is to my wife, spiritual leader, or peers awful things I’ve done, said, and thought. And it is very painful. Sometimes I am met with embrace, other times I am met with a challenge–it is very situational and there is no clear answer for how one ought to react because it depends on so many factors. And from the recent winter retreat, this was one commitment I made: to be brutally honest about my sins and about myself, and to let God take care of my reputation, self-image, insecurities, confidence, and faith in him. To me, this is suffering. But one thing I’ve realized, among many other things, is that it really is nothing compared to what other believers throughout the world have to go through.  In my very blessed and abundant situation, the least I can do is trust God enough to confess my sins to others.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank you for your tenderness and compassion. Just as you urge Jairus to not be afraid, to believe, and to trust that you can bring healing when that seems so impossible, I know that you also urge myself to do the same. Thank you for not leaving alone to my devices and twisted ways that bring comfort in the short-term, but regrets and burdens in the long-run. Whatever consequences I may face, I know that I have nothing to fear, many reasons to believe, and tremendous hope that you can heal and vindicate all.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

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