Sermon for June 27th, 2021.
The woman with the hemorrhage in today’s gospel had been trying for 12 years to find a cure. 12 years this woman was sick and bleeding, and it’s not like she just sat around and did nothing about it. She had been to one doctor after another. She had tried this cure and that cure. She had spent all her money trying to get well; trying to find a cure. But nothing. She was still sick; still bleeding.
You know, I think of all the people in our world right now suffering from long covid. Living their lives, thank God, and yet still not well. Still suffering. And we don’t know how to fix it. And it’s only been a little over a year. Imagine 12 years or longer. Some of you don’t even have to imagine. Some of you know what chronic health issues are like. You know our medical science is an amazing and wonderful thing, and I thank God for it, and I thank God for all the doctors and nurses and healthcare professionals that do everything they can to try and help people, but there always comes a point where we reach the end of what we know, or of what we think we know. Doctors and nurses can’t fix everything, and they don’t know everything. They are human. We have gotten so good at fixing things that sometimes it can come as quite a shock when you come up on something that you can’t fix. But we get reminders every now and then of just how much we don’t know.
The woman in today’s gospel has done everything that she can do and it hasn’t been enough. I want you to just sit with that for a minute, because it’s a really horrible place to be in. This woman has spent all her money looking for a cure, and now she is at the end of her rope. We don’t know how much pain she was in; I don’t imagine that bleeding constantly feels very good, so I am willing to bet that she was miserable. There is no trying harder for this lady. She has done everything that she can do, and her doctors have done everything that they can do, and it hasn’t been enough. It’s not enough.
But someone had told her about Jesus. Someone told her about Jesus. I don’t know what they said about him, but they told her she should go and see Jesus. And when she gets to Jesus she realizes something really profound: Jesus doesn’t have the answers. Jesus is the answer.
Jesus is the answer. She didn’t need an audience with him. She didn’t need his attention. She didn’t need to question him. She just needed to touch him. Just touch him. She said even if I just touch his clothes, that will be enough. All of those people crowded around Jesus looking for answers, when THE answer was right in front of them.
But you know, that’s what people do, they go to Jesus looking for the answers, and sometimes they miss the fact that he is the answer. In his very being. A poor woman who was at the end of her rope, who had tried as much as she could try, she could see that, why couldn’t everyone else? She could see his power, but they couldn’t.
I wonder if it was because they were able bodied, or healthy or comfortable. You know the people that struggle the most with Jesus in the gospels are the people that have a little money and power. I’m not talking about the super rich folks like Herod. I mean the everyday comfortable folks: the scribes and the lawyers and the tradesmen, the folks who have a few shekels in their pocket and generally take care of themselves from day to day. I’m not saying these are bad folks, certainly not, many of these people become Jesus’s most devoted disciples, but still they struggle with him in a way that this poor lady with the hemorrhage doesn’t. They like Jesus, but they often misunderstand him and they struggle with what it means to follow him, and they don’t always realize what he has to offer.
Pay attention, whenever you are reading the gospels, pay attention if somebody calls Jesus “teacher.” Now this means you will be paying attention a lot, because lots of people call Jesus “teacher.” Jesus even refers to himself as “teacher” on a few occasions, but pay attention when you see that, because throughout the gospels a lot of people, when they see Jesus, that’s all they see: a teacher.
When the little girl died in the gospel this morning, the folks gathered around said: “why trouble the teacher any further?” There’s nothing more he can do. And if Jesus had only been just a teacher they would have been right. But they were wrong.
Please don’t make the same mistake. Jesus isn’t teaching moral lessons in the gospel today. He is healing the sick and raising the dead. Jesus doesn’t just have answers; he is the answer. We do not have the power or the know-how, or the resources, or even frankly the will to fix everything in our lives and in this world, but if there’s a lesson in the gospel this morning, it’s this: God can fix what you can’t.
If you have come to Church today hoping for Jesus to give you some good advice, you may walk out the door sorely disappointed, but if you have come to hear about and to touch a savior that has the power to tell the dead to get back up, well then have I got good news for you.