URC Daily Devotion 18th May 2024

Luke 8:40-56
Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. Just then there came a man named Jairus, a leader of the synagogue. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his house,  for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, who was dying.

As he went, the crowds pressed in on him.  Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her haemorrhage stopped.  Then Jesus asked, ‘Who touched me?’ When all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.’  But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me.’  When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.  He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.’ While he was still speaking, someone came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.’  When Jesus heard this, he replied, ‘Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.’  When he came to the house, he did not allow anyone to enter with him, except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother.  They were all weeping and wailing for her; but he said, ‘Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.’  And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead.  But he took her by the hand and called out, ‘Child, get up!’  Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then he directed them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astounded; but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.

I love this dynamic story. 

How Jesus engages with each person has helped shape my charity’s therapeutic practice, but also challenges me personally.

First,  we meet an unnamed, ostracised, poverty-stricken woman who’s known twelve years of agony. Then Jairus, a rich powerful figure whose known twelve years of fatherhood, now facing his daughter’s imminent death.  Both reach out to Jesus in their pain. Jairus uses words. The woman uses touch.

Trauma impacts us differently, but often affects our cognition. I’m so thankful Jesus didn’t need the woman to find words. Her courageous action was enough to cause him to seek her out. 

Jesus meets everyone where they are at – physically, but also emotionally. Jesus assesses what both groups need. He agrees to go to Jairus’s home, but when he meets the woman, he radically prioritises her need over the community leader. She has no advocate. Jesus meets her need with no further delay, no more humiliation. This “daughter” is of equal value to Jairus.

Finally, Jesus marks moments of transformation. We call them “kairos moments” in our workshops – a Greek concept of time, when a moment of self-discovery leads to hope. He tells the woman that her faith has healed her. He notices this commendable quality and encourages her in it. For the family of the little girl, I wonder if it’s a different kind of “kairos moment” – one of humility and huge potential for emotional and social transformation.  Next time we have a lightbulb moment, let’s make sure we take time to sense what God might be marking in us or for us. These “kairos moments” are gifts of discovery from God.

To ponder: 

Do words come easily to you when you are processing challenges? Or do you prefer to do something physical or creative?
How can we be better at meeting people where they are at? Do we always expect bruised people to come inside our church buildings to receive help?

we are of infinite worth in your eyes.
Imprint this on our hearts
that we may offer the same love to others.

Loving Lord Jesus, 
you are always ready to meet us just as we are.
Equip us to be advocates for others who long for healing 
but lack confidence or a sense of their own value.

Gracious Spirit, 
inspire us to seek moments of discovery: 
mark each such moment in us.

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