Words of Worth

With One Word

February 21, 2014

Unknown-1We write a lot about words and their meanings. It seems fitting since this blog and ministry is entitled “Words of Worth”. Today and next week, I want to look at the power of a couple of words Jesus used during His ministry. The story takes place in the gospel of Luke – Chapter 8, verses 41-56.

First on the scene, an important synagogue official named Jarius. Perhaps his social and religious status allowed him to push through to Jesus; it would be immediately evident this man was important. Yet, his posture was that of humility as he fell at Jesus’ feet and begged for the life of his daughter and begged Jesus to come to his house. No record is given of Jesus answer but He must have assented because the next sentence begins, “But as He went….”

At this point, our attention turns to the crowds that were pressing into Him. The word given in the original language means “to choke utterly, to almost suffocate”. Can you feel the dryness in the air and taste the dust in the back of your throat as people jostle and push each other to get close to Jesus?

Somehow through the midst of this choking crowd, a dying woman is able to make her way to the Gentle Healer. Her malady is more than inconvenient; she has also been dying a social death for the last twelve years. Because of her issue of blood, she has been unclean for more than a decade. Levitical law was clear – she was an outcast on every level. She had also exhausted her every resource. Jesus was her last chance. One touch, one last reach of her hand out in desperate hope. She grabbed the fringe of his garment.

Because this is a familiar story, there may be a misconception here of what she actually did. We have in mind she just brushed her fingers across the hem of his robe but the meaning of the word is “to cling; to fasten oneself to”. I imagine her reaching forward in grim determination and clenching her fist around his dusty outer mantle for just a moment…but long enough for the healing she desired to take place. “Immediately her hemorrhage stopped.”

So did Jesus.

He stopped and asked, “Who is the one who touched me?” Peter reminded Jesus the crowd was as tight as olives in a press, but Jesus was aware of more than the crush of people. Jesus was aware of one – the one who dared reach through and reach with unimaginable faith that this man would restore her life. When life changing power left Jesus the moment the woman touched Him, she was unable to hide any longer, she fell at His feet and admitted her need.

This woman had nerve; to push through a mob of people is intimidating enough and touching Jesus would render Him unclean. She must have known He was willing to touch the untouchable. But she didn’t require even that; her faith was so strong she knew to touch Him was enough. One touch restored her health and one word restored her life. The word? “Daughter”. Interesting Jesus didn’t ask her name, instead he gave her the honorable title of “daughter of God” instantly making her acceptable and raising her status to a level previously unknown. Restoration occurred on that hot, dusty crowded road with one word to one woman who dared to hope.

In the meantime, the other daughter – the dying daughter of Jarius seems forgotten.  What happens to her?

Stay tuned… next week we will see the power of two words Jesus used with Jarius.    (ct)

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