Saturday, February 25, 2006

Lessons From Sick People

It is interesting how many people in our society will care for God only when things are going badly.
Just as a way to break the ice, could you please tell me when you were the sickest in your life, and how did you feel ten?

Today we'll learn about Jesus' personality in how he dealt with two sick people.

We will use a passage in Luke 8:40-56
Luke 8:40-42
Who is this man? What was his position? What did it imply for him to do this?
[The leader of the synagogue is a man with a proeminent position in
his community. Jesus was a controversial preacher, and it was a big thing for this man to be asking Jesus' help]
What would make him beg Jesus to help his daughter?
A first trait of personality: Jesus is aproachable.
v. 43
Could anyone describe what would be the health-related impacts of this bleeding?
[ Even though it is not written what kind of bleeding it was, I went on WebMD and found a description for uterine bleeding, a condition related to hormonal levels. There are also digestive track bleedings, And diverticular bleeding. If we take the first option, the uterine bleeding, what do we have? One of the obvious symptoms, except the bleeding, is the lightheadedness and fainting. In the case of diverticular bleeding, the blood loss can be so bad that a transfusion is needed. This woman was constantly in a state of weakness.]
And now, what were the psychological impacts of her sickness?
[The Law of Moses declared her "impure" for a week every time she bled. She was socially outcast, because noone had the right to touch her or touch anything she touched herself. She needed help from the outside, but noone would dare touch her...]
How desesperate was she? What were the fruits of her efforts to arrange things? What parallel do we see with our lives?
[We are often facing problems, and nothing we can do will solve ourselves. To many problems, there is no solution than turning
to Jesus. If we look at AA, NA, SA, etc., their 12-step program is centered on God. Our modern day problems are like that bleeding,
and the solution is the same as it was for her.]
How would you compare her social status with the first guy?
A second trait of personality: Jesus is no snub.
vv. 44-48
Why did she touch his cloak? [She had the faith that just touching it would be enough to heal her.]
Was she healed? Was it psychosomatic or real?[v. 46 says that something real happened, that Jesus felt it.]
Why did Jesus stop? Wasn't he busy with a very pressing matter? What of Jesus's character does this tell us?
[Nobody is unimportant for Jesus]
[Your faith in Jesus should not be a secret, and the blessings that he gave are also not secrets. Jesus wanted to break the wall of shame that was surrounding this woman, that people built around her and that she built around herself. Her reaction show a lot of fear, but her confession and Jesus' reaction show her liberation.]
Another trait of personality?
[Jesus cannot help but help those who have faith in him.]
vv. 49-53
Note: Jesus used more than once the idea of sleeping for someone who would be resurrected. In the case of Lazarus, he used
dead only when people did not understand.
What kinds of faith do we see here?
What is Jesus' view of death? [If you have faith that he will resurect you, then you are just sleeping, waiting for him to wake you up]
[Compare with the resurection of Lazarus in Jn 11:11, to see that, for Jesus, the death of the believer is nothing. Jesus sees beyond this earthly living.]
[There is no emergency with God. Resurrecting is not more difficult than healing.]
Another trait of Jesus' character: he looks beyond the immediate, he sees long-term, and he knows what he's talking about.
vv. 54-56
What happened here? What of Jesus' character is showing up here?
[He really wants her to do well. He's not the "I've done what I had to do, byebye" kind of guy, but someone who goes the extra mile.]
Now, why would Jesus ask the parents not to share what happened? How is that coherent with asking the bleeding woman?
[The father already showed his faith, whereas the bleeding woman did not... As far as I remember, Jesus often tells people not to talk about the miracle they lived... (c.f. LK 5:12-15) but they do so anyway. Jesus was very closed when people asked him for miracles out of the blue.
Jesus wasn't a roaming doctor, but someone who brought God's Word, and who would heal people out of their faith for him.
Healing was not his point, it was a side benefit.
]

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