21st June 2013

Look to the Fringes 

When Jesus saw her, he called her forward…
Luke 13:12 (NIV UK)

Being an introvert I take the greatest pleasure in social groups when I’m on the fringe. Not that I don’t want to be noticed, and not that I don’t have anything to contribute. I prefer to observe from the outside, collate an opinion and, assuming the conversation hasn’t moved on to another topic, present it only when I’m happy with the final result. 

In Luke 13:10-17, the woman also lived on the fringe, but for very different reasons. She suffered from a crippling spirit, meaning that she was permanently bent over. 

To some she would have been a Pariah. In the Hindu caste system Pariahs are the lowest class of society, regarded as untouchable, beneath the notice of those above them. Our sinful human nature seems drawn to creating and maintaining caste-like systems. The people of Jesus’ time were no different. So this woman would have likely entered the synagogue unnoticed, expecting no doubt to leave the same way. 

The Pharisees rebuked the woman for coming to be healed on the Sabbath. Perhaps, like them, you too may think that was why she went  to the synagogue. That could have been her thinking, we do not know—what we do know is that she doesn’t approach Jesus for healing: rather He calls to her. So there could be a reason, beside her affliction, why she was there. What if she went regularly to the synagogue? What if she, like so many others then and since, simply slipped below the radar of the religious leaders and laymen because she lived on the fringe? 

Perhaps she had been going to the synagogue for years, and nobody noticed! It’s a sad thought, isn’t it? Are there people in our lives who live unwillingly on the fringe, waiting for someone to call out to them and bring them healing? Are you one of them? 

Jesus, in His unending compassion, spotted the woman on the fringe, and He called her forward. Without clarification or exposition Jesus declared to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 

Though we may at times be on the fringes of society, like this woman was, we are not on the fringes of God’s sight, mercy and grace. Instead He calls us to come forward, and receive from Him healing and rest. 

Prayer
Lord, thank you that at the times when I find myself overlooked by society, I can take assurance that I am at the centre of your loving gaze. Thank you that you called out to me and set me free. Help me to take on your nature, your concern for others, and to see those I may have overlooked on the fringes. Let me call out to them with confidence, proclaiming their freedom in you.  Help me to show them the love you have shown me. All glory be to your name, Lord Jesus.
Amen
 

Study by Fraser Henderson

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 fraserhendersonAbout the Author:
Fraser Henderson pastors Congregations in the Ottawa and Montreal areas of Canada. For more information on the church in Canada go to www.gcicanada.ca

UK Contact:
Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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