When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.
A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “if I just touch his clothes, I will be healed”. Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realized that the power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “who touched my clothes?”
“You see the people crowding against you”, his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, “Who touched me?”
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering”.
Someone important asked Jesus to do something important and while he was on his way, this incredible thing happens: Jesus stops and listens to this woman’s story. Isn’t that like our days? Someone important asks us to do something important…actually a lot of important somethings: Take attendance, evaluate their skills, post grades, write report card comments, respond to emails, call parents, analyze data, attend meetings, document observations, attend staff meetings and IEPs and committee meetings. They ask (tell!) us to do lunch duty, offer remediation opportunities, supervise school dances, write letters of recommendation…the list goes on and on. Oh yeah, and teach… we’re supposed to squeeze in teaching too!!
I love this story because Jesus is on his mission, the crowd is pressing all around him, yet he notices this woman in the sea of people. And not only that, he looks for her, he seeks her out, and he listens to her story. She told him the whole truth…I can’t imagine that this woman’s whole truth was summed up in 30 seconds. The Jesus I know sits down with her and listens to as she recounts her history, the pain she’s endured, the doctors that took advantage of her, the people who avoided her. Jesus postponed the task at hand to hear her out, to make time for her and value her. And for someone who’s known years of suffering and marginalization, can you imagine how much that meant to her?
Let’s be like Jesus. Let’s not be so focused on our “To Do” list, that we miss the encounters Jesus sets up for us. That woman knew pain and suffering…and so do our kiddos. That woman was just a face in the crowd, but Jesus saw her. Gosh, we’ve got a lot of faces in our crowd…but do we really see them? Jesus healed that woman… we can’t heal our kiddos, but we know who can! And we can pray on their behalf.
Our minutes are precious, we’ve got a zillion things to do…but we have to remember that we teach Spanish or Algebra or Kindergarten second. We teach students first. Seek them out. Look for them. Slow down long enough to see them and hear their story.
The King will reply, “Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did to me.”‘
There are kiddos in your class who are desperate for someone to see them, hear them, reach out to them. Who are they? Ask God to put names on your heart and eyes to see them in the crowd.