Mark 5:25b-28 “And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.”
Can can’t even imagine the life of this woman. For 12 years she had ongoing “bleeding” which, according to the old church code, meant that she was “unclean” and unable to touch or be touched, lest the other person be declared “unclean” as well. She was a total outcast and tried everything, going to every expense to be freed from this state of loneliness and ostracism. But things only got worse. So, in a last ditch effort with a cocktail of superstition and faith, she pushed her way (making everybody unclean that she came into contact with) stretched out her hand to simply touch Jesus.
Desperation. Shame. Hopelessness.
Where have you experienced this?
Modernity tells us to not be ashamed about anything. There is no right or wrong.
Classic religion tells us that Jesus is enough, but that you sin made baby Jesus cry and you ought to be ashamed of yourself.
So where do you go with it? How do you deal with your shame?
Run. Pretend. Defend. Fight.
What if, instead you simply reached for Jesus?
Instead of ignoring it. Instead of drowning in it.
Owning it and being transformed by it.
Shame comes from a shattered and humiliating identity. When my identity is the summation of what others think about me, then what is inside of me (and comes out of me in ugly actions) will bring me utter shame (a broken identity). But when my identity comes from Jesus and my public identity has been crucified on the cross with him, then my shame has been paid for and my adopted identity secured.
Hebrews 12:2 “…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Let’s finish the Mark 5 story:
5:29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
Jesus took her tiny, faulty belief, and blessed her. He not only healed her physically (which shows that he cares about our humanity), but also gave her PEACE! He restored her soul. Her heart. Her life.
And isn’t that what we are really looking for? Peace. A unified wholeness of self under his tender compassionate reign.
And that’s what he offers you and me. Take your shame to him. Your brokenness. Your shattered public identity. Your personal shame where you have shattered your private identity.