Motherhood on the Fringe-Pastor Gus Lohrum
Motherhood on the Fringe Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48 May12, 2019
Although Mother’s Day is a secular holiday, it is fitting to take time out to affirm and encourage motherhood from a Christian point of view. Think of how many special women are named in the Bible who are a part of God’s story and a part of passing on faith about God to the world. Old Testament Mothers Jochebed the mother of Moses – Exodus 6:20 Hannah the mother of a great prophet named Samuel - Samuel 1-2 New Testament Mothers The New Testament has of course Mary the mother of Jesus - Luke 1 The Apostle Paul acknowledges women who he knows help share the good news about Jesus such as Lois and Eunice the mother and grandmother of a pastor named Timothy - 2 Timothy 1:5. As Christians we live everyday having the opportunity and the calling to be involved in the story of God in every-day life. Sometimes we hear of mothers whose actions have been well publicized because of the powerful story they were a part of. Recently one of our members told me I needed to go see the movie, Breakthrough.
Breakthrough is the story of a teenager who fell through ice on a lake in Missouri and was in the water for 45 minutes before he was pulled from the lake. He was clinically dead for 15 minutes. Throughout the ordeal his mother never stopped praying and called upon others to pray, and her son survived. I read an article that described how that young man is now entering the ministry. We never know how we will be a part of God’s greater story in the world. Most of the times what moms’ do doesn’t get written as a book and turned into a movie. That is why I chose today to use the story of an anonymous woman from the gospels to celebrate Mother’s Day and encourage moms to be faithful. Background The story of the woman we are going to consider appears in Matthew 9, Mark 5 and Luke 8. To be honest the Bible doesn’t say whether she had children, but we definitely don’t know she didn’t have kids. She was a woman who suffered with a condition of hemorrhaging for 12 years. For all we know this condition might have happened after she had children, possibly a side-affect from giving birth. To be a woman with her type of condition would have made you unclean according to Jewish religious purity laws of the time. This was a woman who you could describe lived on the fringe in her society. She would not have had much contact with people because of her on going medical condition and her finances had been exhausted. Let’s start sharing together in this story as it appears in the gospel of Luke. Here’s is one artist rendering of what that scene might have looked like and I will invite you to view the image as I read the scripture. (slide is presented as passage is read) Read Luke 8:43-48 Persistence amongst the crowd The scene of the story takes place as crowds were showing up to meet Jesus as he returned from doing ministry. The Common English Bible uses descriptions about this scene that “swarms of people” showed up and the people “smothered Jesus.” One reason I choose to use the story of this anonymous woman is she believed so badly in Jesus and believed he had what she needed to be made whole and she was determined to get through a crowd to connect with him. Application – I would imagine moms today see themselves as confronted by a crowd of influences and situations both positive and negative that can have an impact on how they function as a mother and what affects their children. Current Trends on Motherhood USA Today ran an article this week entitled, Why American Moms are Seriously Struggling. They cited issues like: • Cost of childcare averaging 12-13,000,
• Unequal distribution of responsibilities between husband and wives around the home.
• 71% of women surveyed described a great amount of stress being a part of motherhood.
The good news is that is down 10 percent from a similar survey taken in 1997. • But almost ¾’s said they face a great amount of stress. I would have to imagine one thing that has to be adding to the stress mothers are facing is the crowd of influences that are at our disposal through the internet and social media.
Tim Schrader does marketing for churches and recently wrote that through various forms of technology we get 3000 ads a day. Psychology Today magazine featured an article about the impact social media is playing on ages 12-26 and said one of the contributing factors leading to the rise in mental health issues in ages 12-26 is they are getting less sleep because they are available 24 hours to sources of social media. Ages 12-26 are connected to facetime, receive a text, tweet or even use the ancient communication method of email. A study conducted by Ohio State University of a 127-women found new moms who self-reported posting on Facebook also reported a higher number of symptoms of depression. News and social media of school shootings or potential of also heavily played a factor in stress. Technology has of course has many upsides to it, but it has also makes the world a crowded place for influences on all of us. Parents, moms are raising their children in the technological crowd of influences. My generation and those before mine had parents mainly concerned about your friends. They wanted to know who are your circle of friends and how are they doing in school, do they work do they play sports and where do they go to church? Today my goodness influences positive and negative are coming from all directions. As I think about this woman who may or may not have been a mother, one thing she did know was that she was determined to find her way through a crowd in order to connect with Jesus. I hope as moms one thing you keep a clear vision on is to keep your own connection to Jesus strong first and foremost. Flip the script, and ask yourself - who are your circle of friends and support and is that helping you to stay connected to a sense of God guiding and speaking to your heart? Humility All three gospel stories describe how this woman touched the coat or robe of Jesus. But Matthew and Luke mentioned something Mark’s gospel doesn’t contain. Matthew and Luke said the woman touched the fringe of his robe or garment. I will explain more in a moment about the significance of the fringe, but the fringe would have been at the very bottom of the four corners of the garment. The fringes were like tassels we see on a graduation cap. In order for her to touch the fringes of the robe of Jesus she would have had to bend low almost like she was kneeling to reach the fringe or tassels. In Mark’s version of this story, Jesus stops moving in the crowd of people and asked his disciples who touched him, because he knows someone had received healing. The woman heard Jesus ask the question and she came and knelt before him. She admitted she was the one who received healing. Jesus blessed her and sent her on her way. She is not only determined to connect with Jesus; but this scene gives us a snapshot of her demonstrating humility, humbleness in action. • She has to bend down to touch the fringe of his garment. • She might have been able to taker blessing and run if she wanted but she kneels before Jesus and speaks the truth. In our culture that continues to be an “in your face” tell people off culture, her actions remind us God moves in humble hearts. APPLICATION Her story could be a gentle reminder to mothers that as you mother your kids that are young and adults, the one source you need to stick closest to is Christ, through prayer, through a spirit of humbleness to receive what you need to pass along to your children. Received healing from God’s word Matthew and Luke specifically point out that the woman touched the fringe of the garment of Jesus. The fringe refers to the tassels Jewish men were to wear at the four corners of their robe. The fringe we’re to remind a man as they went about their daily business, they were to obey the commandments of God. Numbers 15:38-39 explains it like this. Read text Second picture here • She touched the part of the robed that symbolized the written commands of God. • She touched the part of the robed that symbolized scripture that ultimately came from God himself. • She touched the fringe with the hope for healing from God. I see some irony that the one who lived on the fringes of life reached to touch the fringe of the robe of Jesus. Pastor Tony Evans states that when the woman touched the fringe of the garment of Jesus, she was in touch at the same time with the living word and the written word of God. So, for mothers this is a great story to remind you that the hope and healing you desire for yourself and your children, ultimately comes from God’s. We need God’s truth to make us whole or complete. Mothers will often try and fix what they can for their kids from skinned knees to broken hearts. This woman’s story reminds us that ultimate healing is spiritual and comes from connection to God and God’s wisdom. Being a Christian and being a Christian parent is about going to Christ first, going to his word first, pushing through the crowd of influences and seeking godly wisdom first and foremost