Matthew 9:18 While he was saying these things to them, suddenly a leader of the synagogue came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 And Jesus got up and followed him, with his disciples. 20 Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. 23 When Jesus came to the leader’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, 24 he said, “Go away; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. 25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. 26 And the report of this spread throughout that district.
This is a really interesting sequence of events. It begins with a “leader of the synagogue” coming to Jesus for help. His daughter is dead, but he believes Jesus can bring her back to life – which he can. As Jesus is on the way to the man’s house a woman “suffering from hemorrhages” touches him so that she might be healed.
It would have been completely inappropriate for a woman to touch a rabbi at any time, but certainly not while she was bleeding (which would have made her ritually unclean). I’m guessing the leader of the synagogue expected Jesus to have her taken away from him, or even punished. But that’s not what happened. Instead Jesus blesses the woman by healing her and affirming her faith. This would have been a definite no-no in ancient Israel. Then at the end of our passage Jesus brings the daughter back to life – confirming the authority Jesus has despite his disregard for the rules of Israel.
In Jesus love/care/empathy trumps the rules.
I’m thinking if Jesus were here today he would probably do things that Christians would disapprove, I’m just not sure exactly what those things would be. So that’s my question for today. Where are Christians allowing the rules to get in the way of love/care/empathy for people? Lord show us where our values fail to meet yours. Amen.