Read Matthew 9:18-26

When I was in Middle school, Oregon Trail was my video game of choice, and I got my advice from Clarissa Explains It All.  Baggy pants were in style and I had a pair.  They were brown and I got them from the local thrift store.  I didn’t know they were originally made for pregnant women until I read the tag at home the night I bought them.  They were the only pair I had baggy enough to blend in with the crowd at school so I wore them every day, all year long.

I was leaving my Creative Writing class with my best friend, Joseph, when we noticed the class reject walking a couple steps ahead.  His name was Ryan.  He was tall and a little chubby.  I’m not sure why everyone had it out for him, but he often became the victim of our hate crimes.  Joseph looked at me with a grin smeared across his face and said, “I bet you won’t run up to Ryan and punch him in the back of the head.”

Normally I wouldn’t but there was something in the tone of Joseph’s voice that dared me to do something stupid so that I could become one level cooler than I was currently.  I would have to suspend my humanity to participate in the senseless hate of another person.  But, I thought if I shamed Ryan by punching him I could escape my own shame and I might be accepted by Joseph and the other popular kids in the hall.  I decided I would go for it.  I wouldn’t punch him hard, just hard enough to grab his attention.  Then I would run off into the crowd of students so he couldn’t catch me.

I snuck through the crowd until I was behind him, balled up my first, looked upward to find my target, drew my arm, and thwacked him just above his neckline.  It was a perfect hit.  A tide of adrenaline overtook my veins and I turned to run away when a large hand clasped around my shoulder and began to dram me into a nearby classroom.  Ryan followed.  I had been caught by a teacher who wrote me up for fighting in school.  I didn’t hit him hard enough to matter, so Ryan forgave me.

This passage is about a woman who experienced bleeding for 12 years, then touched the baggy garment of Jesus and received healing.  It’s a passage that can be easily rushed through, but there is a lot going on here we miss if we don’t take out time.

In Jewish law, a woman who is bleeding is deemed unclean until seven days after the bleeding has stopped and she undergoes a ritual bathing.  So, for 12 long years, this woman has been called dirty by the very people she grew up with.  She has been the outcast of her community, unable to go to festivals or participate in activities of the synagogue for 12 years.

She heard there was a miracle worker named Jesus in her town and realized this could be her only hope of healing.  She tried everything else, spending her last dime on doctors who couldn’t help her.  So, she built up the courage to sneak through the crowd of people who had been rejecting her for years in hope that something could be done.  She brushed against his garment and was immediately healed.  This would be a great place to end the story, but Jesus wasn’t finished.

By asking, “Who touched me?”  He revealed her healing and restored her place in society.  For 12 years she felt unworthy to be loved by those around her, and in this moment Jesus wanted her to know she was worthy of love and acceptance.  She had been looking for a place to belong, and Jesus told her to look no more, she belongs with Him.

I thought I would fit in with my brown, baggy maternity jeans, but I didn’t.  I thought I could climb the ladder of popularity when I shamed Ryan in front of everyone, but it didn’t work and I ended up in detention.  At some point I realized that I didn’t have to try so hard with Jesus.  I was created to belong with Him.

  1. Have you ever felt rejected by your peers?
  2. What have you done to fit in?  Have you ever shamed someone else to elevate yourself?
  3. If Jesus walked through your town today, what sort of healing would you ask Him for?  Would you have the courage to walk through a crowd of ridicule for your healing?

Day 2 of 8 from the 2016 Mission Discovery Devotional