Friday, March 30, 2007

Twelve years of...

Today's New Testament reading retells a story we've covered before, but reading it this time, in Luke's words, I wondered why the coincidence:
41Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus' feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her.
Luke 8:41-43
You probably remember the rest of the story: the woman touches his cloak, and Jesus, sensing power had gone out from him, stopped right there and began looking around. "Who touched my clothes?" he asked.

The disciples, being literal-minded (I don't blame them!) replied, "Who around here didn't touch your clothes??" but then the woman came forward and told him her whole story. Meanwhile, some come from Jairus's house saying, "Your daughter is dead; why bother the Teacher any more?" (One of my teen-agers suggested that perhaps Jairus's daughter died at the moment the woman was healed?)

So my question is this: "Why is it so interesting to Luke that both the daughter's life and the woman's bleeding were to this point twelve years old?"

Here's a possibility: Jairus and his wife had enjoyed a blessing for twelve years, a blessing they feared might be near to an end. Meanwhile the woman suffered from a curse for twelve years, a curse she feared might continue forever. In this one story, Jesus both abolished the curse and restored the blessing.

I think both Mark and Luke were showing the same thing here: that a long-standing blessing can be extended (when you thought it might be over) and that a long-standing curse can be abolished (when you thought you might be stuck with it).

So for us today... is there something that you've been enjoying for a long time, that you're afraid may end soon? Is there something you've been suffering with for a long time, that you're afraid of being stuck with forever? The message I take from this passage is that Jesus has the power to address both kinds of fears.

posted 3/31

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