My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. I follow the readings and journaling from lifejournal.me. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Transformation of the Unclean
Of the sons of the priests: the sons of Habaiah, the sons of
Hakkoz, the sons of Barzillai, who took a wife from the daughters of
Barzillai the Gileadite, and he was called by their name.
(Ezra 2:61 NASB)
These searched among their ancestral registration, but they could not be located; therefore they were considered unclean and excluded from the priesthood.
(Ezra 2:62 NASB)
The governor said to them that they should not eat from the most holy things until a priest stood up with Urim and Thummim.
(Ezra 2:63 NASB)
And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone,
(Luke 8:43 NASB)
came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.
(Luke 8:44 NASB)
And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched Me?” And while they were
all denying it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and
pressing in on You.”
(Luke 8:45 NASB)
But Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.”
(Luke 8:46 NASB)
When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came
trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all
the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been
(Luke 8:47 NASB)
And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
(Luke 8:48 NASB)
These are two seemingly unrelated scripture passages and yet, in a
way they are connected. In the first place we read about a clan of
priests who are returning from exile. They are unable to function as
priests because they cannot prove their connection to the priesthood.
Also, interestingly they have taken the family name of a woman, which is
highly unusual. The priesthood was not open to women, and an argument
in many churches throughout history is that women cannot serve in the
priesthood because they have their monthly cycles which make them
What is interesting to note is that in the case of the priesthood it
was the blood of the sacrifices which made people clean. However, in
the case of women it was the blood which made them unclean. Was this as
a result of the fall of humanity? That we do not know but we do know
that it resulted in the exclusion of women from places of service within
the kingdom of God. As God had predicted, the punishment of the woman
Eve would reach out through all of humanity and women would be
subordinate to men, suffering pain in childbirth and all that comes
with that -- including a monthly cycle in which she was unclean to the
world. The blood, the very thing which would normally bring life and
cleansing, in the case of women brought separation and at times
This brings us to the brief story of the woman with the issue of
blood found in Luke 8. Generally we read over this and hear the story
of one woman, but could there be more to its presence here in the
gospel? The woman with the hemorrhage would have been unclean for the
last twelve years. She knew better than to touch Jesus because touching
him would cause him to be unclean. However, just as Eve set things in
motion for the fall of female flesh, so this woman by reaching out and
touching the hem of Jesus' garment reverses that direction. The
symbolism of her healing here is huge, not just for her, but for all
women. She is healed of the thing which has made her unclean -- the one
thing that makes all women unclean. Jesus' power is revealed because
he has come to restore all things, including those things which were
corrupted by the fall of humanity. The woman who reaches out in faith
can find restoration in Jesus Christ. She may step out in faith and live in
the peace of God.
The implications for this type of restoration of humanity are huge.
Jesus is the second Adam and throughout his life he demonstrates that
he is again setting things right, as God has originally intended before
the fall of humanity, and the final victory over sin and death comes
through Jesus' death and resurrection. Saved female flesh is no longer
unclean! No longer does she live in the fallen state of subordination
but is invited back into God's original plan of equality for male-female
relationships, and into a direct relationship with God through Jesus
Christ who is the Head -- or source of all things. Through this woman
Jesus reveals that he has also healed the female flesh from her time of
being "unclean" and this is no longer a prohibition for her to reach out
to God through Christ. No longer should it be an excuse within the
church to keep a woman from serving at the table -- because she is
unclean. Jesus has already done the work of cleansing her!
When the church does not preach this complete message of restoration
for all of humanity -- both male and female -- then people suffer.
In many countries of the world women and children are still seen as
commodities which may be bought, sold and traded. Somehow they are
viewed as less than total humanity. This perspective is a result of
the fall and Christianity has an obligation to share this news with a
world that desperately needs to hear about how God values all human
flesh. This is not an American cultural view, but is a biblical view of
restoration. It is a message of hope for a world that desperately
needs to know that there is good news which is transformational. In
some places it may seem to go against the norm of culture, but so be it!
The kingdom of God is counter-cultural. Jesus was counter-cultural.
That's what made the religious officials so mad! And yet that did not
stop him -- he continued to preach, teach and touch people whose lives
Lord, thank you for opening our eyes to what you have provided for
all of humanity. Please, help us to be faithful in communicating what
you desire. Amen.