Advent: Day 6

December 6, 2023 | Healing in His Wings

It’s easy to forget that when Jesus walked the earth, he was a devout Jew and follower of the mosaic laws. This meant that at any given time he would be wearing a prayer shawl called a Tallis. It would have had the names of God on it and would have tassels on every corner with five knots on each tassel that represented the first five books of the Bible, and the corner of this prayer shawl was called a Kanaph. In Hebrew Kanaph also means wings.

The reason this is important to know is because in the book of Malachi 4, there is a prophecy that says, “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.” This prophecy implies that when the Messiah comes there will be healing in his Kanaph, there will be healing in his wings.

This is where is gets incredibly interesting. In Mark 5 we read about a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. Doctors couldn’t figure out how to heal her and to make matters worse, according to Jewish custom, women who were bleeding were considered unclean and untouchable. Can you imagine being untouchable for 12 years?

But this bleeding woman has a plan. If she can just touch this healer named Jesus, she is convinced that something will change. But it’s risky. According to Mosaic Law, women who were unclean weren’t allowed to touch anyone because they would make whoever they touched unclean. But desperate people do desperate things.

So as Jesus walked past her, she reaches out her hand and touches the corner of his prayer shawl, his Kanaph, without his permission. The bleeding stops. Jesus stops.

Jesue turns around and asks, “who just touched me”? At this point, the crowd is expecting Jesus to condemn this woman who just broke the law and made him unclean, but instead of chastising her, he says to her…” Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

The Messiah has come with healing in his wings.

Not only that, another interesting thing to consider is yes, this woman gets healed, but how does it happen? It happens because she broke the law. She did what she wasn’t supposed to do. Everyone around her thinks she has gone too far. And yet, what does Jesus do? He affirms her. He compliments her faith in front of the crowd. And then he even calls her daughter. He claims her as His own. In fact, she is the only person in the New Testament that Jesus calls daughter.

Her behavior wasn’t perfect, her faith wasn’t perfect. She behaved audaciously and improperly, people judged her for it, but Jesus affirms her for it. I think that sometimes, we are told that we need to be in control, we need to do things right, we should be proper, and play by the rules, and all those things have their place. But I wonder if what this story is telling us is that maybe there are also times when we need to get scrappy, to break some rules to fight for healing and restoration. To let our desperation turn into determination and to not worry so much about doing things perfectly, but to just do something in faith. Because maybe that is how we will find our healing, when we get a little brazen reaching for Jesus.

Finally, when Jesus wraps up his conversation with her, he says, Go in Peace. The word for peace that Jesus used is Shalom. Shalom is better translated as the presence of God. It is the presence of wholeness or completeness. It is an opportunity to live fully, to be a full participant in the life that is happening all around you, to come alive for the first time in years.

Go in peace is about being a person of peace in the world. It is about being a safe place where friends or strangers, the ones who are desperate or scared or feel like a walking dead person because they are longing for purpose or meaning, where those people can find us, and we can point them in the right direction. Not because we have all the answers but because we have met the healer who does- the promised Messiah who came with healing in his Kanaph, healing in His wings.

The Messiah exchanges wholeness in place of suffering, and where we once were exiled by those who believed they were the most holy, the Messiah reminds us that we are accepted even when we are our most vulnerable and bloodied.

Daily Scripture Reading:

Psalm 57:1, Psalm 91:4, Deuteronomy 32:11-12, Psalm 63:7

December 7, 2023 | A Shoot From the Stump of Jesse
December 8, 2023 | Even the Rocks Will Cry Out
December 9, 2023 | Cover Your Head