Jesus accepted and healed women

Posted Feb 12, 2020

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Daily Scripture

Luke 8:1-3, 41-48

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.”

Reflection Questions

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.”)

  • Scholar William Barclay noted of Galatians 3:28, “In the Jewish morning prayer, which Paul must all his pre-Christian life have used, the Jew thanks God that ‘Thou hast not made me a Gentile, a slave or a woman.’ Paul takes that prayer and reverses it.”* The apostle simply put into words the way Jesus lived in cultures based on male supremacy. How did Jesus' example make gender justice a basic (if too often overlooked) part of Christian ethics?
  • Pastor Frederick Buechner wrote, “When [Jesus] was born, the whole course of history was changed. That is a fact as hard and blunt as any fact…. All the way down the twenty centuries since [Jesus] was born, countless different kinds of people in countless different kinds of ways… have been grasped by him…. In this man, there is the power of God to bring light into our darkness, to make us whole, to give a new kind of life to anybody who turns toward him in faith, even to such as you and me.”** Jesus changed these women’s lives for good. How has he changed your life? How will you remain open so he can keep changing your life for the better?

Prayer

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.

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GPS Guide

Whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith, or you’re a long-time Christian, we want to do everything we can to help you on your journey to know, love and serve God. The GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide provides Scripture and insights to enhance your journey. If you have a question or comment about the GPS Guide, please send it to GPS@cor.org.

Jennifer Creagar

Jennifer Creagar

Jennifer Creagar is the Financial Care Program Director in Congregational Care at Resurrection Leawood. She is married and loves spending time with her family, and she enjoys writing and photography.

“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.”

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