Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means. I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I came not to call the righteous but sinners” (Matt 9:12-13). It’s not surprising that when a ruler of the synagogue approaches Jesus to ask Him to heal his daughter, Jesus goes. But before Jesus takes many steps to go to the girl, He gets interrupted.
Jesus, it turns out, is just fine with interruptions. He listens to pleas for mercy and has perfect timing. Remember when He chastised His disciples for preventing the little children from meeting Him? He loves others more than Himself and grants VIP status to those who are neglected and cast off.
This time, a woman interrupts Him. You can almost see her hunched over in the periphery of the crowd. Perhaps she thought to herself, ‘Jesus is going to be on the move. Let me shuffle over. If I can only get close to His divinity, my frail body will be healed.’ This weak, anemic woman knew this was a risk. At the time, women did not touch men, especially when disease made them ceremonially unclean. Yet this woman pushed her broken body into position and reached out a hand of faith.
All the doctors’ treatments had failed, she had no more money to spend. She saw herself as a drain on the community. She reaches for Jesus out of desperation. She is a beggar, but Jesus meets her with compassion. Indeed, His mercy will take Him to the cross to make a sacrifice this woman could never make.
Do you see yourself in this desperate woman? You should.
We may feel comfortable in this world, yet when it comes to things of God, we are terribly weak. We are unfaithful to that which matters most, devotion to our Heavenly Father and the life of the ones He has placed in our care.
To make matters worse, we know we find strength in God’s Word and His Sacraments but we let other things take priority.
There were others who brushed up against our Lord that day as He left the village, but this woman was the only one who was healed. Jesus said to her, “Take courage, daughter, your faith has saved you.”
She believed Jesus could heal her. She heard His words and clung to them in faith. The Small Catechism reminds us that when we approach the Lord’s Supper, we are just like the woman. We eat and drink by faith in the words of Christ:
Certainly not just eating and drinking do these things, but the words written here: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” These words, along with the bodily eating and drinking, are the main thing in the Sacrament. Whoever believes these words has exactly what they say: “forgiveness of sin.”
In Christ’s voice of compassion, you hear the fullness of the Gospel as He heals the interrupting woman, body and soul.
In this same chapter of Matthew, our Lord tells the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.
For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, rise up from your bed and go home.”
Take heart. The Great Physician has taken the full extent of the treatment to make you whole again, to heal you, restore you and take away your sin. And He looks on you with compassion and love. He saves you by His word.