All Saints Church
21st August, 2016
13th SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY-
[WOMAN HEALED BY JESUS AFTER 18 YEARS]
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, Oh Lord, Our King, Our Strength and Our Redeemer! AMEN.
A warm welcome To everyone worshipping here at All Saints Church this morning!
Brothers, Sisters, and Friends in Christ, grace, mercy, and peace, from God The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit
A WARM WELCOME TO ALL!
Sometimes, truth is revealed in the most unlikely of places. Sometimes we find truth in exactly the opposite place where we think we would find it.
At last week's Bible study, we grappled with somethings that Jesus said that were hard to understand. sayings like: 'do not think that I came to bring peace to the earth, but a sword'.. on first hearing one may think that s not consistent with the Jesus we thought we knew. Is it possible, that statements that appear to be exactly opposite of the truth can turn out to be precisely what we need to hear? This is exactly what the Gospel lesson for today the 13th Sunday after Trinity seems to say!
In the Jewish synagogue, one Saturday morning The Sabbath Day celebrated by the Jews….like we are here worshipping today in Church, on Sunday Morning. And Jesus is teaching the multitude, the congregation, when suddenly, out of nowhere, a crippled woman appears. Hunched over, stooping from the waist. She had been this way for 18 years! She does not ask Jesus for anything. She does not beg Him for a miracle, like so many do in the Old Testament and even today. She just appears there. Her twisted crooked self. But Jesus felt compassion for her, and calls her to come up to the front of the Synagogue, and he placed his hands on her “Woman you are free from your ailment.'and immediately the woman stood up straight. Something she had not been able to do for 18 years.! And she began to praise God. Many cheered the healing -they had witnessed a miracle!
BUT, the leader of the Synagogue was upset. Not because the woman had been healed but because she had been healed on the Sabbath. The Jews had very strict rules about what they could and could not do on the Sabbath.
Well, there are a number of points which we can get out of this incident, several, worthy of consideration, so I invite you to join me in this.
First of all, Jesus was always ready to heal the sick. Jesus always reflected the will of God. So, God is always ready to heal the sick. It never occurred to Jesus that he would displease His heavenly Father, or break some cosmic law by relieving her pain and humiliation of 18 years.
If a person is hungry, you feed them no matter what day it is. If a person is hurting you help them. If a person is handicapped you heal them, no matter what time of day or night it is.
Secondly, so often people you would expect to be pleased with what God does through His people, are not! The Rabbi [Leader] disagreed. Imagine disagreeing with Jesus!
Additionally, note how Jesus takes care of things…..
God's way. He knows who's in overall control, even over those who don't believe He exists! - His reaction:~
You hypocrites! He said: ' you give your donkeys water on the Sabbath[put petrol in your cars] on the Sabbath,...that's work! You lift food to your mouths-[you eat your Sunday roast]- that's work! You buy and sell doves and lambs in the temple for sacrifice.[make offerings in envelopes] BUT
when a poor crippled woman is freed from a life of pain, you call that a sin. Hypocrites, indeed! Hypocrisy close and personal] Brothers, and sisters God is looking for people who rejoice at what He is doing. They are the ones He uses to become the mighty people of God.
Here I will interject that Sabbath rest, or a 'sabbatica ' is not a bad thing. A rest is good for us, and was ordained by God to benefit us. Who knows what our society would become if we failed to set aside hours, or days to let our bodies rest and our minds be refreshed, by slowing the pace of our lives. God created the cosmos in 6 days and rested on the 7th. He set the example.
Did you notice that Jesus did not wait for the lady to come to Him and ask to be healed? Jesus saw her need and called her to Him! God loves all people and wants us well. He sent His son to die for us. By His stripes we WERE healed. God has given us the authority to lay on hands and heal the sick when we truly believe, but do we believe? God is the healer and God who gives us true success and is the final judge of our lives. God does things according to His character and based on His love for us. Jesus and the Father are one and Jesus did nothing unless He saw the Father do it. Nor did He say anything unless He heard it from the Father first.
Someone has said:
It is the nature of all Institutions, whether they are Churches, Schools or Governments, to start to make a shift. a subtle shift s made, where the original purpose of the Institution was to serve PEOPLE, and instead the people start to serve the INSTITUTION. It happens again and again.! The legal needs of the Institution become greater than the needs of the people How true but how sad.!
My Brothers, and sisters, Friends and visitors, let us take the following points away with us today.
1.Jesus speaks to the woman-
In civilized Jewish Society, men do not speak to women n public, even their wives. Remember the story in John 4 where Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well? She was shocked that a Jew would speak to a Samaritan., and even his disciples, when they returned, the scripture records- “They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman.” In speaking to her Jesus jettisons the male restraints on women' freedom.
2.Jesus calls the woman forward to the centre of the Synagogue.
By placing her there, he challenges the notion of a male monopoly on access to knowledge and to God. She demonstrates that women are called by God to be in the centre and prominent, as well as men.
3.Jesus touches the woman.
This revokes the holiness code. I refer to the code which “protected” men, from a women's uncleanness, and from sinful seductiveness, labelled on women.
4. Jesus calls her “Daughter of Abraham” a term not found in any prior Jewish literature. This was revolutionary, as it was believed that women were saved by their men. To call her, 'daughter of Abraham, was to make her a full fledged member of the nation of Israel, with equal standing before God!
5. Jesus heals on the Sabbath. The Holy Day.
In doing this he demonstrates God's compassion for people over ceremony, and reclaims the Sabbath for the celebration of God's liberal goodness. What is the meaning of Sabbath? Sabbath means God works in our behalf.
6. Last, but not least, God shows that bad things can happen to good people. [eg. Job].
Jesus challenges the old belief, that illness is punishment from God for sin. He asserts that she us ill not because God willed it but because there is evil in the world. Yes bad things do happen to good people!
In conclusion, my brothers and sisters, let us recall the scripture in 1 Corinthians where God admonishes us to let everything to be done in love, as He operates in love. God is love!
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 states:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails, Love never ends…
God is in control, in the sense that He has given man dominion over the world- but He will judge us for how we use the power He places in our hands. This is God's aim as He works to bring the maximum number of people into His kingdom. As we fulfil God's calling in our lives, getting to know God and follow Him based on what He reveals about Himself enables us to grow in the love of the Father and show that love to all those in and out of the church.
Today we welcome baby Jonathan into our Church family, with joy- it is the day of his Baptism!
And so, let us rejoice in what God is doing in the people in the church. We all can then look forward to Jesus saying to us, “Well done, you good and faithful servant!”
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and evermore.