Tag Archives: woman

THE GOSPEL OF MARK – DAUGHTER …WHOLE

DAUGHTER …WHOLE

21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’”

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat. Mark 5:21-43

As Jesus moved from the lakeside towards the town, He was shoved and pushed by many kinds of people, curious people, sensation-seeking people, expectant people, hostile people, critical people, sick people, disabled people, desperate people – all wanting to get near Him, all clamouring for attention or shooting taunting comments at Him.

It amazes me how He seemed oblivious to the general hubbub but always caught the sound of a heart cry. His spirit could detect the touch of faith from a dying woman that drew healing energy from Him, and He responded immediately. It was not enough that she received her physical healing in response to her touch of faith. She needed the reassurance of a personal encounter with Him that connected her spirit with His forever.

Jesus ignored the sarcasm that His question drew from His disciples. They were ignorant and without understanding. He was vibrantly alive in the spirit to what was transpiring in the unseen realm. He wanted to move this incident to its completed end. He continued to ask and wait until the healed woman owned up. She was afraid, thinking that she was in for a severe reprimand and perhaps humiliation in front of the crowd. She had broken the law and was in for big trouble!

Instead, she felt the gentleness of the Rabbi’s yoke, reassurance, commendation, shalom; mental, spiritual and physical wholeness. He called her, ‘Daughter!’ Relief, joy, gratitude, excitement must have flooded her heart. She felt reconnected to God. She was no longer unclean. She could love and be loved again. How good it must have felt to have the great load of guilt, shame and fear lifted off her.

Did she have a husband, children, perhaps even grandchildren who have never touched her? After twelve long years she was free to be an active and loving member of her family again. Would she ever forget Jesus? Would she somehow realise who He was?

THE GOSPEL OF LUKE – TWISTED AND BENT OVER

TWISTED AND BENT OVER

“He was teaching in one of the meeting places on the Sabbath. There was a woman present, so twisted and bent over with arthritis that she couldn’t even look up. She had been afflicted with this for eighteen years. When Jesus saw her He called her over. ‘Woman, you’re free!’ He laid hands on her and suddenly she was standing straight and tall, giving glory to God.” Luke 13:10-13.

Luke had a special interest in Jesus’ ministry to women in keeping with his purpose of presenting Jesus as the ‘Son of Man’. Women were disrespected in Hebrew culture, treated as inferior to men, and even as a husband’s ‘possession’ to be retained or disposed of at will. By His compassion and care for women which Luke recorded so tenderly, Jesus gave women the dignity and respect accorded them by their Creator.

Knowing full well that healing on the Sabbath would create a furore among the religious leaders, He persistently ignored their scruples and healed whoever was afflicted whenever He had opportunity. This woman was so twisted in body by her disease that she could not even lift her head to look into His face. Perhaps she was not aware of Jesus but He was aware of her, and with His awareness came His spontaneous response to her plight.

His words to her are also surprising. ‘Woman, you are free!’ not ‘Woman, you are healed!’ Was Jesus aware of a deeper reason for her affliction? Of course, all human imperfections are the result of Adam’s original sin, behind which lay the deceiver’s subtle enticement to disobedience, but in this woman’s case, was there something in her life that directly resulted in her enslavement to the physical condition that held her bound for eighteen years?

It is medically attested that 95% of physical conditions are the outcome of stress which is the body’s response to sustained high levels of adrenaline, the ‘fright, flight, fight’ hormone which prepares our bodies in times of crisis. There is one condition that plays havoc and does untold damage to our physical systems, unforgiveness. Every prolonged emotion that flows from our refusal to let go of a real or perceived offense does damage to us and not to the person against whom we hold our grievances.

Jesus often warned of the consequences of unforgiveness, the most drastic and unthinkable being cut off from the Father’s forgiveness. Is this not one of the main reasons why doctors wrestle with physical problems that defy diagnosis, why hospitals and psychiatric facilities are filled with sick people and why our world is overrun with cruelty and violence? The world is full of angry people who do not realise that forgiving those who have hurt them would set them free.

There is powerful symbolic significance in Luke’s descriptive words of her condition – she was twisted and bent over and could not look up. This is what happens to us inside when we refuse to forgive. We cannot look up and see the face of God when we are twisted and bent over by bitterness and hate. Only the presence and words of Jesus can set us free so that we can stand up and look up.

Jesus changed this woman’s life with a few words, ‘Woman, you are free!’ In them, she found forgiveness for her own sin and release from the anger and bitterness with which unforgiveness had poisoned her body and her life. She stood upright and gave glory to God. What a moment!

Is it possible that you can also experience spiritual and physical healing when you become aware of His presence, hear the words of Jesus in your heart, feel His touch and receive the forgiveness which will free you to forgive others? This may be the key to your healing.

An Agonising Interruption

AN AGONISING INTERRUPTION

So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around Him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.

When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak. Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she had been freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realised that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ ‘You see the people crowding against you,’ His disciples answered, and yet you ask, “Who touched me?”’ But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.

Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at His feet and, trembling with fear, told Him the whole truth. He said to her, ’Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.’ (Mark 5: 24-34).

An intriguing story – two stories in tandem. There are some amazing similarities and contrasts in these two healings. One character, Jairus – an important man, a synagogue ruler – had a name. The other – an unknown woman with an embarrassing condition – was nameless. Jairus’s child was twelve years old. The woman had suffered her condition for twelve years, as long as the little girl had been on earth. Both conditions would have made Jesus, the rabbi, unclean had He touched them. Both produced miracles with equal ease.

Did you notice how He treated an important man and an unimportant woman with equal compassion and equal dignity? Jairus must have been angry and on tenterhooks while Jesus dealt with the woman. Hadn’t he got in first? Wasn’t his need far more urgent than hers? Why couldn’t she wait? In any case, what right had she, who was “unclean”, to come pushing in through the crowd? Now she had made everyone whom she touched unclean as well, including the Teacher. What a mess she had created by her appearance!

The woman, on the other hand, was terrified. She thought she could just creep in, touch Jesus and melt into the crowd, and no one would know what had happened. But Jesus didn’t do things that way. The moment He felt the power go from Him, He stopped everything. Why didn’t He just let her go and not embarrass her by calling attention to her presence? Ah, but Jesus was Jesus. Her little story fitted into a much bigger one.

He usually cautioned people who had been healed not to talk about it. Now He was making a fuss about who touched Him. Why was He so inconsistent? He had a reason. Jesus always had a reason. He was on His way to the house of Jaius where a dead child lay. It was forbidden for a rabbi to enter a room where there was death. What if the crowd, which He made aware that an “unclean” woman had touched Him, thought that He was unclean? There would have been no problem for Him to enter the room of the dead child then since He was unclean anyway.

He had a second reason for calling her to own up that she had touched Him. For twelve years she had been an outcast of society, shunned by everyone, confined to her house, perhaps even abandoned by her husband and children. After all, they did not want to live with an “unclean” person and be perpetually unclean as well. No matter what she tried, nothing helped her condition. She was trapped in a loveless situation until she was full of self-loathing.

Did you notice how Jesus called her “Daughter”? To Him she was not an unclean and shunned woman – the lowest of the low; she was God’s beloved daughter. He must have known who had touched Him but He wanted her to have the reassurance that, not only was her body healed but her heart as well. She was fully accepted as a member of God’s covenant family.

If the people thought that Jesus was already unclean, no one would have tried to stop Him from entering the room of the dead child. Hence the woman’s condition and Jesus’ insistence that she own up, paved the way for Him to raise the little girl from the dead without interference. Brilliant, don’t you think?

By the way, Jesus made a point of touching many unclean people but He never became unclean Himself because He always made the unclean clean! That’s how it was with Jesus! Brilliant again!

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my new book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (copyright 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or kindle version or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

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Love Fulfills The Law

LOVE FULFILLS THE LAW

“Do you not know, brothers and sisters – I am speaking to those who know the law – that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.” Romans 7:1-3.

Paul was being as thorough as he could in explaining both the theory and practical application of Jesus’ death in the lives of his readers so that they would enter as fully as they could into their new life in Christ Jesus. Those who worshipped Idols would have no interest in being set free from sin. In fact their very adherence to idol worship gave them licence to indulge every fleshly appetite as an excuse for worshipping their god!

It is only in the truth of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that we find both the reason and the power to break free from self-indulgence and the consequent destruction of everything good in us, to return to the way of life God created us to live. Sin brings alienation from God, cuts us off from the source of life and takes us in the end to where everything belongs that is disconnected from God – the rubbish heap – to be destroyed in the fire.

Because it is the law that defines what sin is, we have to be severed from the law which condemns us, and we must be reconnected to God without the barrier of sin and the penalty of the broken law. The only way out of the clutches of the law would be for someone who had never disobeyed the law to take the rap for disobedience by dying. In that way, that person would be severed from the law, just as a husband and wife are severed by death.

Death breaks the legal bond between husband and wife and allows the living spouse to marry someone else without violating her covenant with her former husband. That covenant was cancelled by his death and she is no longer held to it.

Could Paul make any clearer the situation between the law and a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ? Legally, the bond between us and the law has been severed because someone has paid the penalty for breaking that covenant. Since He did not pay the penalty for His own sin, what He did affects the whole human race. We are now dead to the law; the bond has been severed and we are free to marry another.

By faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have been espoused to Him as our bridegroom. We await His return to take us to the Father’s house for the wedding and our eternal union with Him, as He promised.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me where I am. You know the way to the place I am going.” John 14:1-4.

Wedding talk! We are no longer married to the law. Jesus killed it by His death on the cross. We have a new fiancé and are already legally bound to Him by our faith in Him and what He did to break the law’s hold on us. It no longer has authority over us. We are no longer under condemnation because the debt has been paid.

When the law comes knocking and demanding obedience to it, we are free to ignore its demands because we are dead to it and alive to our new master. “But,” you ask, “doesn’t that mean that we can live as we like?” No, it doesn’t because we are not free from all authority. We have changed allegiance and are now under a new master – espoused to a new husband. He also has a law we must obey – but His law is not to make us acceptable but we obey Him because we love Him and are already acceptable to Him.

His law is simple. It is the law of love. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34.

“And so,” Paul concluded, “It is love that fulfils the law.” Look at that! By loving one another the law is satisfied, after all!

Acknowledgement

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

Caught In The Act!

CAUGHT IN THE ACT 

“But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn He appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around Him, and He sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’  John 8:2-5 (NIV).

How convenient! Just when they needed some way of catching Jesus out on some (perceived) breach of the Law, one (or some) of them “happened” to come across this woman in a little liaison. Would these guys stop at nothing to nail Him? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it! Was this woman part of their trap? Were they willing to sacrifice her to get their way? And what of the male member of the conspiracy? Where was he? It takes two to tango.

In this whole debacle, what kind of a god were the religious leaders representing? Was this the God who rescued them from slavery in Egypt; the God who led them; cared for them; protected them; fed them and entered into a marriage covenant with them in the wilderness and gave them the Promised Land? Is this the God who taught them about loving Him and loving their neighbour as themselves? Was God’s Law intended to turn them into monsters or to show the world what kind of God He really is, gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness?

Jesus was, along with rabbis Hillel and Shammai, a rabbi with authority. How often did the common people not wonder at His authority because He showed, them by His words and works, the true nature of God, and they marvelled. The other rabbis perpetuated the tradition of a God of law and justice who wreaked vengeance on those who stepped outside the Law, especially the way they interpreted the Law. They made a fetish of the Law and twisted the nature of God to suit their distorted version.

Jesus’ yoke was different. He portrayed a God of mercy and compassion, one who was on the side of the poor and oppressed. He was not out to destroy but to restore. He had forgiveness and mercy for those who repented and healing for the sick in body and mind. His kingdom was built on love, God’s limitless and unconditional love for all people, and man’s love for each other because all barriers had been removed.

The Jewish leaders hated Jesus because He made God too nice. It didn’t suit them because a “nice” God took away their power to control the people through fear and stripped away their cloak of hypocrisy.

How insensitive these men were! Imagine them dragging this poor, half naked, wretch  in front of Jesus, flinging her down on the ground and loudly demanding that He pronounce His “Guilty!” verdict on her or else…! ‘Come on, Jesus. We caught her IN THE ACT! Moses said we must stone her. What do you say?’ They were confident that they had Him. If He showed mercy to her, He would be deliberately acting against the Law of Moses. If He agreed to their stoning her, He would be applying their yoke, not His own. He would be going against His own authority and bowing to theirs.

Was Jesus caught off guard? Would He have an answer that would vindicate Him and be merciful to the poor victim who lay trembling on the ground, waiting to hear her fate?

I can imagine the self-satisfied grins on the faces of these men as they looked at one another in triumph. ‘We’ve got Him now,’ they must have thought. ‘There’s no way that He can wriggle out of this one!’ In full view of their audience of people eager to listen to the gracious teaching of the rabbi whom they admired and followed with expectation and enthusiasm, they waited for their answer.

But they didn’t know Jesus. He knew exactly how their minds worked. There was one small part of the Law they had forgotten….