From outcast to daughter
This reflection on Luke 8:43-48 explores the journey of a marginalised woman restored through Jesus’ compassion.
43 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her haemorrhage stopped. 45 Then Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me.” 47 When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
New Revised Standard Version
In this passage we meet a woman who has lived with the torment of a debilitating illness for twelve years. Viewed as unclean, she was unable to participate fully in society. Viewed as untouchable, she was starved of the affection conveyed by a simple touch. Deep among the crowd, in close proximity to others, she risked public scorn. Motivated by a desire to be healed of her illness and restored to her community she ventured over to Jesus. Emboldened by her faith she dared to touch him.
Having slipped anonymously among the crowd, her healer now requests a public admission – “Who touched me?”
If you were her, how would you feel? What would you do?
Unable to hide in the crowd any further she comes forward trembling. But her fear is unnecessary, as she understands when Jesus addresses her as “Daughter”. With that expression he draws her into a place of belonging; she is not an insignificant outsider but she is valued as a child of God. Jesus’ ministry was one of restoration and love, which gave particular priority to the most vulnerable and marginalised in society. It’s a ministry his followers are called to emulate.