15 March 2019Matthew 9:18-26
Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, ‘Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.’ (v. 22)
Psalm: Psalm 98
Matthew’s Gospel was written for a Jewish audience very aware of the laws concerning ritual purity. Avoiding touching the dead and those who were bleeding were among the accepted ways that ritual purity could be maintained. Jesus manages to encounter both conditions in one story.
If we were in doubt that Jesus is the Christ for others, here we see it clearly. Two women are in need of healing, one has been unwell for 12 years; the girl, possibly around 12 years old, is dead. The girl’s father, a man of influence and standing in the community – he is named in the story – kneels at Jesus’ feet to beg for help. The unnamed women with no influence and no part in community life is already kneeling at Jesus’ feet in order to touch his cloak.
And all received what they needed from Jesus. Instead of him becoming ‘unclean’, Jesus’ purity ‘infects’ the others. His presence invites a response of faith from both Jairus and the woman. Just as the paralysed man and Matthew ‘got up’ earlier in the week, so the woman and Jairus’ daughter ‘get up’.
For Matthew, the word used to denote ‘healing’ here can also mean ‘save’ or ‘rescue’. Here is the one with authority, even over death, coming to save and rescue all who are in need.
- What does Jesus’ approach to the different kinds of people in this story have to say to us in our church life?
- How might our faith in Jesus ‘infect’ the diverse communities around us?