Sunday, November 26, 2006

Daughter of Jairus - Luke 8

How many ways in this story did Jesus violate the conventions for religious leaders? The woman with the hemorrhage was unclean, the dead body was unclean and more.

But this story is about going beyond the immediate to the real needs of people. In the bustle of a crowd Jesus noticed someone who was desperate. Menstrual bleeding for twelve years, that woman shouldn’t have even been in the crowd that day, she was unclean and was supposed to be out away from people so she wouldn’t make them unclean, let alone be around someone she respected, such as a teacher.

And yet this woman touched Jesus and he felt power leave and he responded to her. Even in the midst of another problem he took time for a nameless woman. Frankly I’m not like that. I get involved in one task and don’t really notice anything until that’s done. If I’m doing several things, then I’m probably not paying attention to much of anything other than those several things. I can walk and talk at the same time, but noticing what else is going on is beyond me.

And what we see in this story is someone rich and well known coming to Jesus in need. And what we see here is someone not so well known or popular looking to Jesus for help. And what we see is Jesus coming to both rich and poor in their time of need. We see a Jesus who has ruth and compassion for the least among us.

The miracle isn’t, in my opinion, the healing of the sick or the raising of the dead. The miracle is in the giving of self and going to the least among us. And Luke is all about helping the one’s who are weak, oppressed, different and more. In fact, there are a few scholars who believe that a woman wrote Luke. One of the reasons for that speculation (it is a very serious speculation) is that there are so many women in Luke and they play a prominent role.

Time and time again we hear that we are not to be like others. We’re not about searching for power or wealth. We don’t go to the people who like Jairus are leaders first; we go to the people who have little or no power. We don’t come to the powerful for answers; we take time in private prayer and conversation with each other. What does the Lord require? – see Micah 6:8. What is the greatest commandment? and the second like it? – see Luke10:27 and other places. Once we start concentrating on loving our neighbor and working so that the needs of those without power are met, then we are on the way of following Christ.

We have someone who overturned the tables of the moneychangers, who called religious leaders whitened tombs, who said that many who called upon his name would be surprised at the last days. The scriptures do not show our savior’s message as someone who wants us to be walking in the halls of power and saying ‘this person is voting our religious values and that person is not.’ They show someone who walks the halls of power and asks the people to account for their use of that power.

So do we walk with the powers that be congratulating ourselves on our relationships with those who can do things? Or do we walk as those who call the powerful and rich to be better than they thought they could be? Which one would Jesus do?

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