International Women’s Day of Prayer
Speaker: Eunice Senior-Baker, Northeastern Conference of SDA
Scripture Reading: Luke 8:40-48
As women, we must reclaim our responsibility as prayer warriors. We must pray for the church, pray for each other, pray for our young people, pray for those who don’t know the Lord. When women pray, great things happen.
One concern of the devil is to keep perople from praying. He doesn’t care about prayerless religion or prayerless work. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray. So let us continue in prayer.
In Luke 40, we read the story of the ruler of a synagogue who came to Jesus, pleading for Him to heal his only daughter. Jesus never turns down someone’s cry for help. He was on an emergency call. So He headed to Jairus’ house. The crowd also followed Him. As He headed to the house to stand by the girl’s bedside, a women suffering from an issue of blood for 12 years snuck into the crowd and touched His garment.
We don’t know her name. She is referred to as the woman with an incurable issue of blood. She was so stigmatized that no one cared to learn her name. She was identified by her issue and not by the contributions she offered nor her value. She lived under the Levitical laws, during which it was important for a woman to be identified by family or position in the community. Due to her issue, she was a social outcast for 12 years, excommunicated from the temple and synagogue, considered impure. She was divorced from her husband and abandoned by her family.
For 12 years she sought help and healing from physicians who were stumped. She suffered alone with this illness. She lost all hope and was in despair. She heard that Jesus was in town and had heard of all the miracles He had done. He cast out demons, made the lame to walk, the dumb to speak, and calmed the seas. She knew that He was the great physician and the only one who could help her. This was her only chance she thought. So she made her way through the crowd thinking that she only had to touch the hem of His garment and that would be enough. It was now or never and she had nothing else to lose, because she had already lost everything.
In one touch, she concentrated all of her faith and instantly her illness gave place to good health. We must all touch Jesus for ourselves. Jesus recognized the touch and halted, turning to ask who touched Him. Jesus was surrounded by a crowd so any one of them could have touched Him, Peter thought. This touch was different and Jesus knew it, because He felt virtue leave Him. Jesus knows the difference between a touch of need from a touch of greed.
This woman was treated by the church and the people as nothing or nobody. Jesus sought the person who touched Him and fearfully she spoke up in fron of the many who had abandoned her in her time of need. Jesus, however, called her His daughter. She was somebody, the daughter of the Prince of Peace.
Jesus is never too pre-occupied to not recognize the cry, quest, and need of a single, solitary soul. There is a certain sensitivity which Jesus has towards the needs of each of us. No one is ever hidden from Him.
Why didn’t Jesus let the woman stay hidden? The Son of God knew who touched Him. That’s not why He asked the question. There’s a lesson behind it. If she remained hidden, the good of the action would fail her. She needed to know who healed her and not how or people would want Jesus’ clothes. Matthew 5:34 says, “And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” Healing didn’t come from His clothes. She shouldn’t be misled. Touching Christ or His clothes didn’t bring healing, because there were many in the crowd who interacted with Him. They were also sick, but not healed. She couldn’t think that her touch could work a miracle. Jesus wanted to recognize her faith. Her touch was different, not a casual t ouch, but a conscious, deliberate, voluntary, dependent, saving, pre-meditated touch of faith.
Hers was a touch motivated by faith and faith always stop Jesus in His tracks. It gets His attention every time. God wants us to have a personal relationship with Him. We must know the Savior, if we must experience personal salvation. We must not be satisfied with being a part of the crowd. We may be near Jesus in a thousand crowds and yet not once in contact with Him. We are too c omfortable with surrounding Him as a crowd, but never truly knowing Him, or purposefully touching Him.
Jesus loves you so much that He made a way for you to be saved. That is why He died for you. He loves us too much to let us die. Jesus is still here for you. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.