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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Jesus and the unnamed woman (Luke 8:43-48)

Peter and the disciples had a calm crossing across the sea from Geresa to Capenaum. When they landed, they saw another man falling at the feet of Jesus, but this time it was a very different kind of person from the individual in Geresa. Now it was one of the synagogue rulers called Jairus. Here was one of the religious rulers kneeling before Jesus. Before whom do such rulers kneel? In front of greater rulers! This man’s daughter needed help, but before she could get it, another incident arose. Nevertheless, he had faith that Jesus could help his daughter and probably he had heard about and seen what Jesus had done in the area before.

I suppose Peter would want to highlight the relationship between Jesus and providence. The unnamed woman and the daughter of Jairus had one thing in common, and that is the number twelve. Twelve years before, the woman’s illness had commenced, and in that year the daughter of Jairus was born. No connection, it would seem at first glance, yet it was for each a stage in their journeys to meet Jesus on the same day, even although they would not have realised it.

Peter would also want to tell us that he learned from the unnamed woman’s experience that Jesus wants open acknowledgement of his abilities to help. The woman wanted to remain a secret beneficiary of the grace of Jesus, but she discovered that Jesus would not go along with her plan. In a kind of serious way, her intention delayed the blessing coming to the family of Jairus. Still, says Peter, there she was, the third person to fall down at the feet of Jesus. It was becoming clear to Peter that that position is a very appropriate one to take.

Making a public confession was not easy for the woman. Her problem was defiling for herself and others and the requirement was that she should go to a priest, God’s spokesman, who would pronounce that she was clean. But here Jesus did that instead of the priest. He was claiming divine authority, and with that authority he gave to her great assurance and comfort. She would not have received that assurance if she had remained quiet about what had happened to her. Peter and the other disciples were discovering more and more that Jesus was very different.

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