No second-class citizens

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How can you be sure you are valued by God? What evidence has Matthew’s Gospel given you so far?


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Bible passage Matthew 9:18–26


A Dead Girl and a Sick Woman
 18While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, "My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live." 19Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.

 20Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21She said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed."

 22Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment.

 23When Jesus entered the ruler's house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, 24he said, "Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep." But they laughed at him. 25After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. 26News of this spread through all that region.



New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


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Ancient values
The miracle of healing and new life that we see here are key signs of Jesus’ role as Messiah (see Luke 7:22). The unexpected twist lies in who receives these blessings.

In the ancient world women were considered inferior to men, inconsequential, useful only for bearing burdens and bearing children. The birth of a boy was a joy, a girl was a woe. Jesus’ actions and interactions in our passage today (vs 19,22,25) challenge these notions.

Surprising love
In Jesus’ kingdom, women and girls are not second-class citizens: he values all people, female and male. How might our words and actions mirror Jesus’ priorities? How do our church fellowships show that all are valued in God’s kingdom?

A dead girl (vs 23–25) and a haemorrhaging woman (v 20) presented a double whammy of ritual defilement for any self-respecting rabbi (see Leviticus 15:25; 21:1,2)! Due to her bleeding, the woman would have been excluded from the religious life of her community for 12 years.

Jesus’ gentle words and compassion brought physical and spiritual healing for her and sent a message to the surrounding crowd: mercy is more important to God than adherence to the law (see Matthew 9:13).


Respond


‘Lord, help me to value all people – regardless of gender, age, nationality or colour – the way that you do. May my words and actions reflect your compassion for others. Amen.’

Penny Boshoff


Deeper Bible study


‘Cleanse me from my sin, Lord. / Put thy power within, Lord. / Take me as I am, Lord, /and make me all thine own.’ (R Hudson Pope, 1879–1967)

Matthew here begins his third miracle collection, highlighting reactions to Jesus’ power, both positive and negative. These stories were told to teach the Christian community that they too can expect both welcoming and antagonistic responses to their witness to Jesus. The reactions to Jesus in these first two miracles are positive. Matthew simplified the account, stripping away details that Mark provided (Mark 5:21–43). Some commentators note that Matthew has ‘ruler’ (v 18, in some translations) while Mark has ‘ruler of the synagogue’, suggesting that Matthew preferred a secular official rather than have Jesus responding to a leader of the synagogue. It is unnecessary to propose this distinction – and the NIV has Matthew call him ‘a synagogue leader’. For a start, Matthew’s community, reading Mark’s Gospel, were already familiar with the story. More importantly, Matthew’s miracles were selected to show Jesus’ response to people’s needs irrespective of their stations in society. He had healed people with leprosy and foreigners, the servant of a high official and a deranged man. Now he heals a woman perpetually unclean from chronic bleeding. How fitting it is that Jesus also shows mercy to a religious leader who had the faith, humility and desperation to come to him. Indeed, to come to Jesus was the only precondition anyone needed.

The juxtaposition of these two stories has a striking outcome that the Gospel writers and their original audiences would have understood. The healed woman, now ritually clean, needed to have her cleanness certified by the ruler of the synagogue, who on the very same day had also been a recipient of Jesus’ compassion. Jesus was the ultimate answer to the needs of two people from very different strata of society.

John Harris


Just one touch


In Leviticus 15, the Law gives clear instructions for the necessary response to various ‘bodily discharges’. Some might be STDs; menstruation is also discussed. Verses 25–30 refer to non-standard menstrual-type bleeding.

A woman in extremis
Any woman who was bleeding (including standard menstruation) was required to keep herself away from the general public. Anyone who even brushed against her was made ritually unclean.

We see, therefore, how desperate this woman saw her situation by her decision to deliberately touch Jesus.

Even if her bleeding was not literally continual, this sort of blood loss, which extended over a period of more than 4,000 days, must have left this woman suffering from severe anaemia (at the very least). Economically she was at great risk; by this point it is extremely likely that her husband would have divorced her. Begging would have been her only source of income.

Lord of healing
Jesus was not unaware of what had happened. The healing was not some sort of slot machine mechanism that happened involuntarily. He chose to heal this woman, and demonstrated to her that he knew what had happened.

We can no more trick Jesus into healing us than this woman could. Hopefully we’ll turn to him a little earlier than she did.

Bible in a year


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Exodus 25,26

Matthew 27

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Audio


Come to Jesus
Nathan Fellingham
Copyright © 2009 Phat music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.integritymusic.com



Move in our lives
Jamie Pearson and Kate Cooke
© 2010 Vineyard Records (UK/Eire)
www.vineyardrecords.co.uk


Comments
  • Rachael Hampton | Monday, 05 February 2018

    Jesus the boundary buster. No matter what barriers the law, or society, (or ‘the church’) puts up, He walks right through them to deliver compassion and total healing. Don’t we just love that it simply doesn’t matter to Him how unclean, or deranged we are; whether we are authority figures and leaders, or outcasts? To Him we are all the same: His beloved, made to live in fellowship with Him. All we have to do is come. Prayers WL family. May we find in Him all we need today. So glad you found hope and healing in Ruth’s post, Enyobi.

  • Ray Skinner | Tuesday, 06 February 2018

    John Harris reminds us: "the Christian community can expect both welcoming and antagonistic responses to their witness to Jesus." Alongside that reminder, I read a report of the killing a few weeks ago of Bassem Herz Attalhah, a Coptic Christian, killed by militants from "the State of Sinai" - he had a cross tattoed on his wrist. Four days ago, I was asking here for prayer that Muslims come to recognise that the Qur'an does not deny the cross. According to the statistics, Muslims will soon outnumber Christians in the world. Given that many Christians are in name only.... Pray for Gospel welcome, not antagonism.

  • Janet Webb | Tuesday, 06 February 2018

    Good morning all. I have just read an article about child brides in India. Can I ask you to join me in praying for them and victims of forced marriage everywhere.

  • Angela Munday | Tuesday, 06 February 2018

    We can all say "It's okay to be me;" we are all designed by Almighty God and He so loves His creation. We all need to accept the love of Jesus that is available for one and all. There are no barriers when love is unconditional as it flows right past them all....."Be encouraged! " (Verse 22) When Jesus is present things really change and His goodness gives the glory to His Father in Heaven. Praying with you JANET that all systems that cause suffering and distress may end.

  • Ruth Chisholm | Tuesday, 06 February 2018

    We are so blessed with modern day medical care we must be careful to keep God at the forefront of our health-care, both physical and spiritual. I had two pictures this morning of praying, one with our head in our hands in dispair or alternatively our arms reaching out to Jesus, with faith, to our Lord who reigns over all our sickness and broken ways. CAROL praying you through this first cycle of chemo, how's things, any specifics to pray for? Can I ask for prayer for wisdom for me tomorrow as I meet a specialist spine surgeon, new meds have almost totally removed back pain, although 1 week adjusting to side effects I'm either hyper active or asleep! I'm sure I'll adjust to this, but tomorrow we'll be discussing whether an operation is beneficial, I'd rather not just at this time after only just starting to feel better after the chemo, so seeking God's will for me at this time and remaining in his peace.

  • Roger Hall | Tuesday, 06 February 2018

    Enwrapped in the Love of Jesus. Appropriate for Lent, I need to learn that, when deliberately insulted, to pray for the insultor. Deny myself means learning to utterly give myself to Jesus! I love Him because He first loves me! What's so amazing is the fact that my love is so faltering.

  • Angela Munday | Tuesday, 06 February 2018

    RUTH : Continuing in prayer for you; may you know the presence of our Lord as you make important discisions and may the peace He will give help you to feel reassured at all times.....always praying for you too CAROL as you continue your journey with medicinal treatment.

  • Carol Stockman | Tuesday, 06 February 2018

    Praying for you RUTH as you you meet with your. Medical team today. I pray you will have peace in any decisions you make. Thank you our W/L family for your prayerful support. Last week was difficult as I got a fever and had to be admitted to hospital for intravenous anti-biotics. Sent home with more to take for a week. Feel much better now and had a much better night's sleep last night. Praise God!

  • Elizabeth Sadler | Tuesday, 06 February 2018

    At my relatively new church ,in a little UK seaside town,we truly seek to minister "inclusiveness";our assistant verger has severe learning difficulties,and needs help with a lot of things,but it is a blessed sight to see him determinedly taking the offering plate to the front each Sunday. A Jewish Christian has recently joined us who is a double amputee with motor neurone disease,and it is a joy to see him hurtling around the church balancing many bibles in his motorised wheel chair.And the severely autistic son of a church couple was baptised and confirmed last week;radiant as he stood before the congregation .They are all accepted and loved "just as they are",with no false expectations;surely the sign of a healthy thriving church.

  • Roxanne Macaulay | Tuesday, 06 February 2018

    Coming from the Heart with nothing more than pure love to serve others is to know unconditional God's love from my own heart is key to demonstrate His love for others. Roxanne Macaulay.

  • Sara Ward | Tuesday, 06 February 2018

    My prayers for you all in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. Please can I ask to be held in your prayers as I return to part time work after a break of a number of years due to acute stress. I’m praying that God will continue to be with me as I enter the work environment again and adjust to it and that I can be a blessing in what I do. Also that He will show me the way forward in dealing with the source of that stress. Thank you.

  • Roger Hall | Tuesday, 06 February 2018

    Dear Sara, you are right, your willingness to allow the Lord to deal with the problem. He wants you to live as one of his witnesses. Cast all your cares upon Jesus, and may you be blessed.

  • Barbara Sabin | Tuesday, 06 February 2018

    The Saviour of men came to seek and to save The souls who were lost to the good; His Spirit was moved for the world which he loved With the boundless compassion of God. And still there are fields where the laborers are few, And still there are souls without bread, And still eyes that weep where the darkness is deep, And still straying sheep to be led. Except I am moved with compassion, How dwelleth thy Spirit in me? In word and in deed Burning love is my need; I know I can find this in thee.

  • Jack Russell | Wednesday, 07 February 2018

    Sara, prayers with you, may you know the comfort of the Lord at this time and know what it is to hear his voice saying not to let yourself be afraid of anything and to experience the peace he gives. Take your time and rest safe in the faith that all things work for good for those that love God and are called to his purposes.

  • bruno mars | Wednesday, 21 February 2018

    Großartiger Ort, wo Sie Whatsapp-Account-Hack online gehen können, ohne irgendwelche Spam-Datei oder etwas zu downloaden. http://whatshacken.com

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