The Crowds Who Followed Jesus were filled with imperfect people.
You would think that the people who crowded around Jesus were perfect people. You would think the people Jesus made accommodations for always had their lives together…perfect marriage, perfect family, straight “A” kids, etc.
But Jesus didn’t surround himself with perfect people, He did the opposite. Consider the disciples! James and John loved Jesus, but they were a bit full of themselves. Peter loved Jesus, but he cussed a little. If you do a little digging, you can find all kinds of imperfections and inconsistencies in the lives of ALL of Jesus’ followers.
When Jesus began recruiting people to follow him…He didn’t go to the synagogue, he went to the streets. He didn’t go to the religious institutions, he went to the marketplace…the local fish market. One of the major reasons the pharisees criticized Jesus is because he spent so much of his time with “scum.”
Here’s an example of someone the Pharisees rejected, but Jesus accepted.
Luke 8:43 – A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure.
There was one particular woman in the crowd who had a major problem – an issue that involved constant bleeding. No need for more detail, you get the picture. This issue had overwhelmed her for over a decade.
When you have an issue for a week, you can get by. If an issue lasts a month, you think “it’ll be okay eventually.” If it lasts a year, you start thinking “oh crap.” And if your issue last 12 years? Hopelessness….
The Religious Principles labeled her “Dirty”
According to the Levitical Law, if a woman was on her period, she was required to be isolated from everyone else. She was considered “unclean.” This particular woman had a “never ending” cycle, which meant she was expected to isolate herself for all of these years. Can you imagine how she must have felt? She probably felt hopeless, overlooked, rejected, broken, and alone.
Since Luke is writing this, he wants to clarify that not even well trained doctors like himself could fix this medical issue. She needs a miracle. So she comes to Jesus. This is her last ditch effort. She is weak, doesn’t have a lot faith, not really sure what to expect, but at the very bottom of her lowest point, she’s going to give Jesus a shot.
44Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped..
You can read the rest of the story, but I thought I’d point out that Jesus says something very powerful…
Jesus calls her “Daughter”
48“Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
The principles called her dirty, but Jesus calls her daughter. Why? Because Jesus values people over principles. The law said she was unclean. The policy for someone with her condition was “get away and isolate yourself.” But in this moment, Jesus didn’t enforce the law, nor did he re-iterate the policy. Instead, Jesus embraced her warmly by calling her “daughter” and he healed her.
There is a difference between Religious “Principles” and Jesus.
Religious principles are sterile & cold, but Jesus is warm, caring and compassionate. Religious principles have a tendency to push people away, but Jesus draws ALL men to himself. Religious principles separate and divide. They entrench people in dogma and ideology…
But Jesus loves people more than principles. Jesus actually makes a difference in your life instead of just making a statement. And if you want to know what matters most to Jesus…it’s you. It’s the people you live with, it’s those you care about, it’s the person beside you on the bus, across from you in the waiting room, and behind you in the line.
Jesus cares about ALL people, not just some principles.