1 Soon afterward, Jesus traveled through the cities and villages, preaching and proclaiming the good news of God’s kingdom. The Twelve were with him, 2 along with some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses. Among them were Mary Magdalene (from whom seven demons had been thrown out), 3 Joanna (the wife of Herod’s servant Chuza), Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.
41 A man named Jairus, who was a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet. He pleaded with Jesus to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a twelve-year-old, was dying.
As Jesus moved forward, he faced smothering crowds. 43 A woman was there who had been bleeding for twelve years. She had spent her entire livelihood on doctors, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the hem of his clothes, and at once her bleeding stopped.
45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When everyone denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds are surrounding you and pressing in on you!”
46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me. I know that power has gone out from me.”
47 When the woman saw that she couldn’t escape notice, she came trembling and fell before Jesus. In front of everyone, she explained why she had touched him and how she had been immediately healed.
48 “Daughter, your faith has healed you,” Jesus said. “Go in peace.”
Mary Magdalene has played a large role in popular fiction about Jesus. So it’s a surprise to see how small (yet vital) a role she had in the gospels. Her name was only in Luke 8 before she became one of the first witnesses to Jesus' resurrection, yet it showed why she was so loyal to him. Later in Luke 8, a woman whose disease made her ritually unclean reached out to Jesus. His healing and approval changed her life forever. (C.f. also Luke 13:10-17, where Jesus set free “a daughter of Abraham.”)
Lord Jesus, of course men and women are different. But you made it clear that in your eyes they were not of different worth. Lead me beyond any residual gender bias I may have learned along the way. Amen.
* William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, pp. 32-33.
** Frederick Buechner, The Hungering Dark. HarperSanFrancisco, 1961, pp. 53-54.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28 (CEB)
Reading the Scripture and study for today’s GPS guide, I’m struck by how much Jesus ignored the social rules and customs of his time, and how much this example expanded the lives of those who followed him. His followers were male and female. They came from different backgrounds and different life experiences.
At the beginning of Luke 8, some of the women are described as “women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses,” including Mary Magdalene “from whom seven demons had been thrown out.” Luke also mentions Joanna, who was the wife of one of Herod’s servants. Before following Jesus, these women had very different lives. Some had lived as outcasts, and at least one lived in the king’s household. They would not have had a reason to speak to each other, much less live and serve together.
Jesus brought them together. Their common experience of being touched by and changed by Jesus was more important than social divisions or the details of their past lives. They used their shared resources to support his ministry and his followers in a variety of ways. Following Jesus, their differences faded away in the light of their common focus on serving him.
As Jesus’ followers today, we can be as free from customs and barriers as these women, and with the same common focus. We can know, love, and serve sisters and brothers whose lives and experiences are vastly different from our own. What an incredible gift – a world and life open to the experiences and gifts of others, united by our common bond, our focus on following Jesus.
Here at Resurrection, we have many opportunities to receive this gift, from getting to know the stranger sitting next to us in worship to serving together in a part of the city, or the world, that is outside of our experience (and possibly our comfort zone). On the website for each campus, there is a link at the top for “SERVE.” Clicking on that can open a whole world of people and blessings, where we can live as “one in Christ Jesus.”
13720 Roe Ave.
Leawood, KS 66224
24000 W. Valley Pkwy
Olathe, KS 66061
1601 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
601 NE Jefferson St.
Blue Springs, MO 64014
8412 W. 95th St.
Overland Park, KS 66212
Can’t find something? Let us help.