Who Do We See?
Father, I need perspective in perplexity, patience in trial, and strength in adversity. I pray for grace equal to today.
Read MARK 5:21-34
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“I was sick and you took care of me” (Matt 25:36 NRSV). Remember Jesus’ radical identification with the “least” in society.
I cannot comprehend the misery the unnamed woman in this passage had to endure for twelve long years. I am a man—and an extraordinarily privileged one. I have three university degrees. I have never experienced unemployment. I’m supported by a loving wife and family, and a global network of friends. I’ve had good hospital treatment when I have needed it. I have so much opportunity and choice. My experience could not be more different from that of this woman—or from that of so many women in our world today.
This passage reminds us of our world’s inhumanity to many women. Would a society in which women were equal with men tolerate a practice which heaped shame and abuse on the woman already suffering the physical pain and constant discomfort caused by unchecked hemorrhaging– and even exploit it for financial gain (26)? Jesus allowed her needs to interrupt his mission to respond to the request of a man of considerably higher status. He could have let her healing go unnoticed but, instead, deliberately drew attention to her. Ignoring the cultural and religious marginalizing of women in her condition, he publicly affirmed her faith and added the blessing of peace to that of healing. It was a powerful and public demonstration of God’s care for a person so easily dismissed as being of little account.
Whenever and wherever Christians have grasped the biblical truth that every person is made in the image of God, it has stirred actions of justice and compassion. As it dawns on us that every person, no matter how insignificant in the world’s eyes, is loved and valued by their Creator and our Savior, our way of seeing those pushed to the margins of society is transformed. To follow Jesus is to become aware of the suffering woman in the crowd.
Let the words of Jesus cause you to examine your attitudes: “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first” (Matt. 19:30).
Lord, help me to see each person as You do. Forgive me that so often I prefer to befriend impressive people rather than those who are lost in the crowd.