Sept 29, 2013 – The Power of Blood sermon by P Marty (see it here)
Let me first say that the context of this sermon was in preparation to take communion. Oddly enough, just the day or two before I had said that I wished that someone had warned me about taking communion in an “unworthy manner”. When I read that for the first time on my own, I became very nervous about communion. 1 Cor 11:27 says “whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself…for he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself…”. Now, I’m not sure P Marty covered that directly, but man oh man did he cover being “unworthy”. We are all unworthy.
Passage: Matt 9:18-26 (aka The Woman with the Issue of Blood)
Jesus was on his way to raise a girl from the dead when … a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, for she thought “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment…
I have always looked at this amazing passage as a “healing” or “faith” passage. Because I have not been diagnosed with an incurable disease, I’ve never identified myself as “the woman with the issue of blood”. Now, I’ve identified with “the sinful woman”, “the adulterous woman” and “the woman at the well”, but no, not this woman. Until this sermon. And let me tell you, I am SO with this woman based on how he described her. I completely “get” her and she just may be my soul sister.
He described her as “ceremonially unclean” and someone who wasn’t even allowed to be out in public. She was “unfit” to leave her home. An outcast. He described it as leaving his house early in the morning, going to the store to buy coffee, looking down and hoping that no one there recognized him because he looks like a mess. That’s how this woman must have felt. She felt dirty, unfit, unworthy, hopeless, insecure, fearful, ashamed. She had no dignity, no self-worth. She approached Him from behind as if trying to “sneak up” on him just to touch the bottom of his garment.
And “Jesus turned around” and addressed her calling her “Daughter”. He said that maybe it had been years since she had been addressed that way if she ever had. But the King of Kings and Lord of Lords called her “Daughter”. She was not “worthy” to be called His daughter. But that is how he referred to her. It’s like when a father reaches out and lifts up his daughter’s chin to make eye contact with her and encourage her. Oh my gosh this blew me away!!! I grew up without my earthly father in my life so I never thought about it from that angle. Side note – Fatherlessness is an EPIDEMIC today. Have you heard of those new birth certificates in another country that list Parent A and Parent B as if fathers are no longer necessary in raising children. Don’t even get me started on that one…. .
So, “Jesus turned around” and called her “Daughter”. And my favorite part of CHRISTianity is knowing that I know that I am royalty because MY FATHER is a King and HE has called me daughter. Period. It’s not anything I can earn on my own. It’s not an elected position. It’s a birth right through spiritual adoption.
MY NOTES DURING THE SERMON that I took for this blog are this: I know that this is meant for someone else too and that I am NOT alone in this. For the first couple of years that I was a Christian, I read my Bible and watched church online or on TV but I would NOT go to a church building because it was so uncomfortable to be around people that raise themselves up by putting other people down. I have a strong feeling that the woman with the issue of blood knew full well her “dirtiness” and did not really need the stone throwing Pharisees whispering ugly things behind her back about how dirty she was. But, I bet they did anyway. Once Jesus healed me, made eye contact with me, and called me Daughter, religious people still made it very clear through their glances, body language and speech that they still looked down on me and down on others who had ever acted like me (ex. other denominations, gay people, people who have been divorced, people who have committed “big” sins, people who dance inappropriately, people who smoke, people who drink alcohol …. pick a behavior…many many “church people” are just flat mean). Though this is a very unfortunate and sad part of “church culture”, do not listen to those people or confuse them with Christ. Church and Christ are NOT the same thing. Do not focus on the stone throwers. Focus on JESUS. Make eye contact with Him. Keep reading your Bible, keep praying, keep listening to online sermons and keep visiting churches until you find where you fit. If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.
My husband and I were talking about our faith and what our faith meant in our life. Why Christianity over meditation, or just being “spiritual”, or over religions such as Hinduism or Shinto (like my cousins husband is)? The answer: Jesus. The Way. The Truth. The Life. No one is worthy. But Jesus said” It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”. Luke 5:31-32.
Yep, Jesus is the ONLY ONE who can heal the Woman with the Issue of Blood. Heal on Great Physician.
***UPDATE*** About an hour after posting this blog I read a post from a lady that I used to attend church with before we moved to DFW. It said “David, a man after God’s own heart writes these words that are so powerful in showing Gods true loving nature…and it is so sad that even a lot of Christians don’t really know Gods loving heart… I talked to a sweet sweet girl the other day who is not a Christian but wanted to know about God. After visiting with her for 4 hours, I began to realize she had run into so many mean and angry and unloving Christians, that she didn’t want to become one. However, the scriptures say: you O God are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never ever quit!!! That’s the God I serve…”.
I just love that reminder!!!