“If God loves us, why on earth doesn’t he come and help us?” a very tough question, much tougher than the ones about monkeys, fossils and dinosaurs. It’s the agonising heartcry of so many of us for some kind of explanation to the devastation in people’s lives. There’s a famous Jesus encounter that took place on a crowded street. A woman who had been haemorrhaging for twelve years approached Jesus from behind “If only I could touch his coat” she said “then maybe my life could change” To everyone else this is a public moment, but for her it’s a personal one, in fact it’s deeply private. But in the chaos a second crisis presents itself. A prominent leader in the community breaks with protocol and comes out onto the street to confront Jesus with the news his daughter is desperately ill.
For some reason the sick woman on the street takes priority over the sick child in the house but Jesus doesn’t forget about that man’s request. The story ends with Jesus entering his house to perform a miracle that restores his family. So what happens as a result of this poor woman literally grabbing hold of Jesus? The people are gathering around him and at one point he is almost crushed. Jesus shouts out to his friends “Who touched me?” "Who touched you, who touched you?” they said “Everyone is touching you, we can’t stop them touching you!” The woman is completely anonymous in the crowd but has lived with a socially challenging condition for twelve years. Shunned by the community as unclean and shamed into the thinking that anyone who touched her would also be unclean and treated the same way.
So why now? why after all these years is she pushing through the crowd and running the gauntlet to get to Jesus? The Bible says she’s spent all she has on doctors’ fees but instead of getting better, she’s got worse. Add to that, there is now welfare system and she hasn’t got any medical insurance. Now her long journey of shame and rejection is about to end, not in another clinic with another quack but on the street with Jesus. He turns to her and says “Take heart, your faith has made you well” That’s interesting. Clearly, she needed Jesus but, apparently, she also needed faith in Jesus. Maybe we all have to step out and push through the crowd? Some people are nervous around Jesus and the church, wondering if they will be met with acceptance or rejection. Some have had a bad experience of the church in the past. It happens I’m afraid because it’s made up of ordinary people who make mistakes. But when we push through to get to Jesus, amazing things can happen. Whatever you’re facing today reach out to Jesus, he’s not far away. He takes us as we are and the gives us the power to change.