Monday, January 21, 2013

The Bleeding Woman {Matthew 9:20-22}

Jesus Christ is the Messiah for women and men, for those with all kinds of backgrounds, all kind of pasts. He is the Messiah for all people. Much has been made of the Virgin Mary, but Matthew’s genealogy (Matt.1:1-6, 9:20-22) highlights five other important women in Jesus’ family and ministry.

Tamar was a widow who married Onan, Judah’s second son (Matt. 1:3, Gen. 38:1-30). She was left childless and a widow once again, resorting to trickery and acting as a prostitute to find economic security. Her child continued the line that eventually led to Jesus.

Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute in Jericho who protected two Hebrew spies in exchange for her own protection from the Israelites who surrounded the city (Matt. 1:5, Josh.2:1-24, 6:22-25). She later married a Hebrew and gave birth to Boaz, David’s great-grandfather.

Ruth was a woman of Moab who was widowed when her Jewish husband died, and she was left without sons (Matt. 1:5, Ruth 1:1-4:22). She migrated to Israel with her mother-in-law, Naomi, married Boaz (Rahab’s son), and became the mother of Obed, making her David’s great-grandmother.

Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite (cf. (Matt. 1:6, 2 Sam. 11:1-12:25, 1 Kings 1:11), who attracted the eye of King David while bathing in ritual obedience on her roof, cleansing herself from monthly flow. She committed adultery with David and later married him, giving birth to Solomon.

The Bleeding Woman
The Bible did not reveal the name of this Bleeding Woman. According to Matthew, for twelve years the woman had sought a cure for her serious health condition (Matt. 9:20-22). Perhaps worse than the drain of her physical strength and finances was the stigma of uncleanness.

Jews considered women ritually unclean during menstruation, and if a woman experienced bleeding other than at her normal menses, she was considered unclean until the bleeding stopped (Lev. 15:19-27). That meant exclusion from participating in the life and worship of the community.

Scripture is silent on the source of this woman’s livelihood. Perhaps she lived off an inheritance, or perhaps she was divorced and her dowry had been returned to her. Whatever her means of support, it was gone. Jesus was her last hope. So she approached him, breaking a rule that made it an unclean person’s responsibility to keep away from others. In desperation, she reached out and touched Jesus.

Perceiving that power had gone out from him, Jesus sought her out. Perhaps as she explained her disease the crowd backed away, not wanting to contaminate themselves. But Jesus didn’t withdraw. Rather, he drew her to him with the affectionate term “dear woman” and sent her away in peace, healed at last!

Reflect Yourself...
Who are the “untouchables” in your world? Who is desperately trying to reach out for help? How can you respond to their needs with Christlikeness?


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