Breaking Down Barriers

File May 19, 7 34 34 AM

Wisdom 16:15-17:1; Rom. 14:13-23; Luke 8:40-56

The Gospels are chuck full of miracles.  Today Jesus heals a woman and restores another to new life.  The true miracle is beyond a simple healing, however.

Jesus ministry is about breaking down barriers.  Paul and other followers continued this trajectory for Christianity, preaching good news to the Gentiles.  Luke’s gospel, especially, seems concerned with this breaking down of barriers, and we see it front and center.

The real miracle here is Jesus’ simple TOUCH.  It was apparent this woman was hemorrhaging and suffering from abnormal menstrual flow, which made her unclean and untouchable.  To even be in her presence was a clear violation of the Levitical code.  Jesus breaks this barrier.  This same violation takes place when Jesus touches the dead body of the young girl just a few verses later.

Both of these stories are beautifully portrayed in a window at FPCOKC, with the story of the woman within the greater story, and in the corner of the window, pictured above.

When the woman touches Jesus’ cloak, not only does that violate scripture, it makes Jesus unclean, and prescribes that he now quarantine himself.  When he turns and responds to this woman, and then heals her, he is breaking down barriers.  He is revisiting the Law and questioning its presuppositions.

In many ways, he is taking up the same argument as when the disciples ate on the Sabbath.  Was the Law created for people, or people for the Law?

Jesus’ answer is always grace and healing.  He reaches out his arm, and invites us all to be made clean – to be cleansed of the harsh condemnation we place on ourselves and others.  He washes our lives from the presuppositions and invites us into a life of love.

This is an extraordinary move he makes.  Jesus’ moves into the unclean places of the world, and reaches out his hand.  He crosses borders, and is found in the least expected places.  Some have talked about this as the “preferential option for the poor”.  Liberation theologians have surmised that Jesus walks with the poor, the oppressed, the underprivileged.  And why?  Because he always has.  It has always been his choice.

And it is miraculous, because it means there is hope for you and me, for we all fall short of the glory of God.  But this is of no consequence to God, who forgives us and makes us all whole again.

-Matt

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