Mother Vivian Shelby – The Second Sunday after Pentecost, June 11, 2023
In the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
So there is a lot in the gospel today. But the one, well, three themes that I found were faith, salvation and resurrection. So we’ll look at each piece to find these three things. So first he calls Matthew. Matthew follows him. So that takes faith. And if you have faith, and you’re following Jesus, you have salvation and resurrection.
Then he goes to dinner and the Pharisees are questioning why he’s eating with all of these sinners, tax collectors. And he explains very plainly that if you’re not sick, you don’t need a doctor. And that he is looking to save sinners, not the righteous. Because the righteous don’t need saving. So he’s trying to teach them about how faith works so that they can have salvation and resurrection, eternal life.
Then a man, a Pharisee, a Jew, a leader, comes to Jesus with this incredible faith and says, “My daughter is dead but if you will come, she can rise.” And then in the gospel, the same words that were used for Matthew rising up and following Jesus, are used here for Jesus rising up and following the Pharisee. And while he’s walking, this woman who has been so sick, in her mind, has so much faith, “But if I could just get on the ground and sneak up behind him and touch the very edge of his clothing, I will be healed.” Faith, incredible faith, and it heals her.
And then Jesus is at the house. And people are laughing at him for saying she’s sleeping. And he goes in and just touches her hand and she rises up. Faith. Salvation. Resurrection. These are all things that we are promised as Christians.
So let’s look at the “faith” piece. If Jesus calls you, you follow him. You all have done that. You’re at church. You were baptized. Check. Now, being willing to sit with people who are not righteous, to help them hear the word of God and to have the opportunity to choose to follow Jesus as human beings, that’s a little harder. But we should strive to it. Respecting the dignity of every human being because God made them. No matter what they’re choosing to do in this life, good, bad, indifferent, they’re creatures of God and we are called to preach the gospel to them and to show them God’s love.
Now, who of us would not do anything, anything to save the life of our child? Anything. Even going to some stranger that you think might be able to cure your child. We would do that, in what us Ohio people call a “New York Minute.” In a New York Minute. And isn’t that how God loves us? We are his adopted children and God will do anything to save us. Anything. And what did he do? He sacrificed his own son so that we could have salvation and eternal life.
But the story that really, really struck me is the woman. This woman walks up behind him. He’s not even facing her. He’s not even looking at her. He’s not, he doesn’t even know she’s there. And she falls to her knees and just touches his cloak. Now how is this different from all the other healing stories? All the other healing stories Jesus touches someone. He spread the mud on the man’s eyes. He grabs the girl’s hand and lifts her up. Jesus touches. But we are called to have the kind of faith where even if we feel like Jesus is not acknowledging us, Jesus doesn’t see us, Jesus doesn’t even know that we’re there, that if we reach out to him and just touch a piece of his clothing that we will receive salvation and resurrection. It was her initiative. Her choosing to touch Jesus. Her faith that healed her. Not Jesus. Not Jesus turning around and acknowledging her and saying that she was made well. She was made well the moment she touched him.
So what does it take to have faith like that? Trust. Think of the things you have faith in, in this world. Hopefully you have some people on that list. And you had to build trust. Now, trust with humans is always broken isn’t it? We hurt the people that we love. But, we forgive them to stay in relationship with them. We have to work at it.
So how is your faith in Jesus? How do we build faith in Jesus? We have to trust him and that’s what faith is. And God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit is the one thing that you can trust all the time. Every time. History all the way into eternity, that God will be there. Jesus will be there for you. But we have to have a relationship. And that doesn’t mean you’re baptized and then you’re good for the rest of your life. We have to seek him out. We have to reach out and touch him. We have to study scripture. We have to be in community with one another. So that when we are having a really bad day, one of us can lift you up. To help you reach again when you’re feeling like you just aren’t sure if Jesus is there.
You have to study the scripture. And you have to try to love and respect the dignity of every human being. This is not for the faint of heart. This is hard work. Faith. Salvation. The promise that we will always be forgiven for what we have done if we repent and return to the Lord. To our dying breath we will receive that, and resurrection. Getting to be and live with God the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. It’s worth it.
So this week, whatever you’re struggling with, think about reaching out and touching Jesus’s cloak. It may not heal you physically, but it will heal you spiritually. And that will give you the strength to get through. No matter what your body is doing. No matter what your relatives are doing. What your spouse is doing. What your kids are doing. Touch his cloak and see what happens. Amen.