In this series of events, Jesus teaches us an important lesson about faith. The first scene has the Pharisees confusing faithfulness to the Law with faithfulness to God. They feel their observance of Jewish law frees them to judge others, to exclude, and to justify ignoring the needs of hurting people. Jesus sends them away to think about what God really wants of them.
Along comes a religious leader asking Jesus to lay hands on his daughter who has just died. This father’s love for his daughter and his faith in Jesus’ power to heal is stronger than his commitment to keeping the Law, which prohibits touching a dead person. Next, a woman who, according to the Law, should have no contact with anyone due to her chronic bleeding, wades into the crowd and reaches out to Jesus. Rather than rebuke her for breaking the Law, he commends her for her faith, offering healing and hope. In each episode, Jesus shows us that extending welcome, healing, and hope are the benchmarks of faithfulness.
What keeps you from interacting with people that make you feel uncomfortable? Which unwritten “rules” makes some people worth your time and others not? What do you believe God requires of you?
Today, offer a prayer of confession for those times when you have sought to justify ignoring the needs of another and find assurance in the mercy of Christ.