What would it mean to make the son of God “unclean”?
I can’t believe there’s only a little over a week left in Lent. I have so enjoyed studying and learning from the women that Jesus interacted with during his time on earth, but we’re running out of time and there are still so many women! So, today we are looking at two different women from two different gospels who may never have known each other but who were both healed by Christ, and who both broke religious laws in order to be healed.
There’s the woman with the bleeding problem, perpetually unclean, perpetually rejected, perpetually alone. She has suffered much, paid much, and still she grows worse. She has nothing left.
And there’s the woman crippled by a demon, hanging around the synagogue on the Sabbath. Unable to stand, unable to work, unable to see anything but the ground beneath her.
The first woman, she reaches out. She plans in advance, she finds him in the street. She has heard, and she believes. She knows the laws. Yet she believes that in touching him, in making him unclean, she will become clean herself. She doesn’t ask permission, and still the blood dries up immediately. She intentionally makes the Son of God unclean in order to finally, fully be clean and healed herself. And her faith makes her clean and healed.
The second woman, she’s not looking for Jesus. She may not even know who he is. She’s not breaking the law, she may not even believe that healing is possible. She doesn’t even know that Jesus is there. She is shuffling along, staring at the ground beneath her feet. But Jesus sees her, calls to her, touches her, and she is healed. He names her a daughter of Abraham, an heir of the promise.
The first woman, the one who touched Jesus without permission, she responds to him with fear and trembling and the truth. The second woman, the one who Jesus touches without permission, she responds with praise. But the result for both women is the same- they are both healed.
Because really, whether we found Jesus or Jesus found us, whether we approach Him with fear and confession or with praise and a new name, we are cleansed and healed.
I love that the Gospels include both of these images. That sometimes Jesus sees us when we physically cannot lift our heads to see him, when we couldn’t possibly have been looking to be healed, and he heals us without asking if we even want it, because he knows it will set us free.
And that sometimes we see Jesus when it doesn’t seem like he’s even noticed us and we believe that even when it seems like he’s walking away from our needs, we can reach out in faith and be healed.
This post is a part of my Lenten series called “The Women of Lent”. For an explanation of the series and to see the past posts, check out the posts in the category “Women of Lent“.