4th Sunday Sermon Luke 8:41-56 2023/11/19 Osaka Church
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy God
There was a woman who suffered from a constant flow of blood for 12 years , and she spent all of her wealth on treatments. One day, she heard the roar of the town saying, Jesus has come, who is reputed to be able to perform miracles and heal any illness. She stumbled out of her house in a weakened state, placing her last hope on the man. She crouched down through the curious crowd following Jesus, and touched the hem of Jesus’s garment from behind. At that moment, the woman felt that the blood had stopped.
Instantly, the Lord also turned around. And he said: “Who touched me? I felt the power coming out of me.” Realizing that she could not hide it, the woman came forward trembling and told her story. When the Lord heard this, he spoke.
“Your faith has saved you.”
Now, what was “her faith”? What thoughts did she endure every moment of her life? The blood wouldn’t stop…that must have caused unbearable discomfort and pain that a man can’t even imagine. But the suffering is not limited to physical pain. The Jews considered the state of something flowing out of the body to be “unclean.” They believed that blood was synonymous with life itself. As a Jew, her suffering was nothing but the suffering of personal self-denial, believing that she was an unclean person, and at the same time the suffering of continuing to stare down a long, drawn-out death. Her heart must have been crying out, “It’s painful, it’s painful, can’t something be done?” And she spent a lot of money on many doctors and medicines and perhaps even some magicians. But it never got better. She didn’t have any more money anymore hope. Just like this, she was gradually weakening, little by little. The suffering continued to be prolonged. She must have completely lost all hope.
But still, the commotion that Jesus caused among the people as he passed by finally made her stand up. However, she probably did not have the kind of conviction that could be called “faith,” believing that “Jesus will definitely heal me.”
She, so to speak, made a last-ditch effort, a desperate attempt. She had already lost everything, and was barely alive. Squeezing out the last little flame of her life, her desire to live, “I want to live even if I’m like this,” “At least,” she said, touching the hem of His robe.
This is the “faith” that the Lord saw in her when He said, “Your faith has saved you.”
Incidentally, this occurred while Jesus was on his way to heal the dying daughter of the synagogue leader, Jairus.
Eventually, Jairus’s family members rushed to the place where he was communicating with this woman. Then they announced, “Your daughter has now passed away, and it is no longer necessary to trouble Jesus.” Jairus, who was devastated by the news, probably felt the same way. “Maybe it’s too late…I can’t bother him anymore.”
But Jesus was different. “Do not be afraid, believe, your daughter will be saved.” So the Lord went to Jairus’ house and raised his daughter from the dead. Jesus is the Lord of Life who does not give up on himself even if people give up. He wants to heal us who just cry out in our hearts, ‘It’s painful, distressing, but I want to live, even as someone like me.’ He wants to heal us who are powerless and only stare, with fear and trembling, at our own demise. Jesus wants to give Life.
This is who Jesus is. He doesn’t assess the ‘certainty of your faith’ or brand you as ‘inadequate.’ He accepts our literal blind cries from the darkness where we have lost sight of God as ‘faith’ and responds to them in love.