A story of opposites. Matthew, Mark and Luke all were impressed by the same event. Jairus, a ruler in a synagogue, comes to Jesus because his 12 year old daughter is close to death, “Help!” On the way to the house an unnamed woman who has been bleeding for 12 years, hence “unclean,” reaches out and touches the hem of Jesus’ garment and is healed. We have the events involving two people with many observers. One is named and important and one is unnamed and outcast, unclean. One is male with access to power while the other is female and avoidable. Both are at the end of their ropes and desperate. Perhaps the ruler had tried the sacrificial system when his daughter first became ill and perhaps he had contacted the priests to come but we do not know. We do know that the woman had spent all her money on doctors who could not cure. Both turn to “Christ Alone” as their hope and salvation from situations leading to death.
I share the story because it exemplifies Luther’s point of Sola Cristus, only through Christ do we have direct access to God for salvation. The two people did not receive healing because of their good lives. That’s not mentioned. They were not healed in response to gifts to the temple, because of gender, because of wealth but only because they turned to Christ.
So what about prayer? When I ask friends to pray for me or saints, is that not helpful? When we have lots of people praying about the politics of our country, about the salvation of the lost, or about any issue, does it not help? The subtle assumption is that the more the merrier. More wealth means more happiness. More doctors opinions means more clarity on the path ahead. More prayers means more power. More smearing of the other candidate means more votes for me. Popularity moves mountains but in this scenario, the woman is outcast.
I had fraternal twin boys. As they grew we went through phases.
“Might makes right” and I’m stronger than you so… “Height makes right” and I’m taller so…. Chronology makes right and I’m 20 minutes older…. Sola Cristus reminds us that God makes right because he is wise and he is powerful. I am not saved by my popularity or goodness but by his grace through my faith. Jairus and the woman did not receive help because of who they were but because of who Jesus is and their faith in him.
Perhaps today your concern is the World Series. Who will win? Perhaps you are concerned about the political outcome and the future after the elections. How will I handle health care, or, or, or…? Perhaps you or a loved one is struggling with the virus or another health issue. We cry out with Jairus and the woman who was bleeding, “Help!” He holds our lives. He hears. He cares. Thank you Lord. Blessings.