We're so glad you decided to join us today!
When we met in person, we shared joys and concerns together. As you think about the last week, what joys and concerns do you have? What about for the upcoming week? If you would like, you can share these in the comments. When you are ready, use the prayer below from Woman's Day to get started.
Dear God, I know that the first step in all spiritual healing is to believe. I believe! I open my mind and heart believing in your infinite power and possibility. I believe that healing is a dynamic and reachable experience, a reality that can be experienced right now. I maintain a patient and loving attitude, for I believe that your healing activity is now at work in my mind and body. I look forward, with joyful expectation, to the perfect wholeness that you are now bringing into manifestation through me. I believe in your constant expression of perfect good in and through me. I rest in the certainty of your healing power. I know that with you all things are possible. In Jesus Christ's name, Amen.
This week's lesson is on Matthew 9:18-26.
Today’s lesson takes place late in the second year of Jesus public ministry. His teaching was pointed, his spirit was magnetic and his healing so many people made his reputation spread far and wide. As Jesus dealt with the crowds , he never lost sight of the individual.
Our lesson starts out with a synagogue leader who kneels before Jesus as someone who approaches a king. He tells Jesus that his twelve year old daughter has died but if he comes and put his hands on her she will live. This is great faith that he has in Jesus because Jesus has never raised anyone from the dead yet. I am sure he has heard of all the miracles Jesus has done. I think anyone who is a parent would have done the same thing. Jesus and his disciples followed the synagogue leader along with a crowd. In that crowd was a woman who had been subjected to bleeding for twelve years. She had spent all her money on trying to get her health back but it had only got worse. She has been an outcast for the last twelve years. She had been considered unclean so she couldn’t socialize or even worship in the synagogue. Jesus was her last hope. She knew if she only touch his cloak that she would be healed. She didn’t want to ask Jesus to heal her because she was embarrassed about her condition and that she shouldn’t have been close to him because she was considered unclean. Jesus realize that some of power came out of him when she touched his cloak. What was amazing is Jesus was walking in a crowd and was probably getting bump into but no one else was healed in the crowd and Jesus could feel her touch was different. When Jesus stopped and saw this woman he address her with kindness and respect. Jesus said, “Take heart, daughter your faith has healed you. I am sure the woman was scared when Jesus was looking for her but was put at eased with what Jesus said to her. She was healed. Jesus had given her new life. The joy she must have felt.
Jesus continue to the synagogue leader’s house. When they got there they saw a crowd that was mourning. Jesus told them to go away since the girl was not dead but asleep. Jesus meant that she would not remain dead. The mourners laughed at him. They knew what death was and the girl was dead. When the crowd went outside, Jesus went in and took the girl by her hand and she got up. Her resurrection came as a simple touch of Jesus, like the healing of the sick woman.
News of this spread through all that region. This great miracle, the results were seen by many, could not be kept quiet. The spread of this news surely contributed to the crowds that followed Jesus or came out to meet him when he came near their areas.
Matthew introduced the interaction between Jesus and the synagogue leader but then interrupted it with a second encounter before returning to the first story to wrap it up. The themes are that of a 12 year old girl who had not yet attained womanhood when she died and a woman for whom womanhood has been the source of suffering for as many years as the girl had lived.
Perhaps you see in yourself characteristics of the people in these two accounts. Perhaps you are like a family member of the dead girl, mourning the loss of someone you love. Perhaps you are like the sick woman, suffering with a chronic condition that does not improve. Certainly we all know the grief and suffering will come for us, even if we presently enjoy a moment of calm.
The miraculous power of Jesus does not assure us that we will have no loss or pain. But our text tells us what we can do in the midst of suffering and loss: we can put our trust in the Lord. Our ultimate destiny is a life in which the Lord wipes away our tears. Even if our pain last for years, the Lord will heal it when we are in heaven. Even when death separates us from those that we love, even when we face that separation in our own death, the Lord will reunite his people in heaven.
We sometimes refer to Jesus as “the great physician.” But he is more than a great medical doctor who knows how to treat and cure diseases. There is power and authority in Jesus, power that eradicates not only disease but also death. There is power and authority in the resurrected life in Jesus—power and authority for life both now and in eternity.
Almighty God, we cry out for you in our suffering and our grief. We long for a life that you have in store for us. As we do recognize the abundance that we now possess through Jesus—even abundance unto eternal life. We thank you for this in Jesus’ name. Amen
This week's benediction is from the Scottish Psalter.
Next week's lesson will be on Matthew 14:22-33.
We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.