|Coming out to touch Jesus|
(Mat 9:17 NIV) Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."
(Mat 9:18 NIV) While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, "My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live."
(Mat 9:21 NIV) She said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed."
(Mat 9:22 NIV) Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment.
In 2007, R-L-M an ex-gay ministry (ex CHC) came from Malaysia to Singapore and talked about touching Jesus in order to be healed of “homosexuality”. The woman with the issue of the blood came to Jesus and touched Him, and was completely healed at that very instance whilst gay Christians have tried touching Jesus some for decades but no healing either from homosexuality or from heterosexuality. No one in the bible came to Jesus or to the priests to be healed for their innate sexual orientation.
The religious did however come to the pagan priests to have anal sex or the dogs of the temple who were young men of the temple. It was not gay sex but the intention was to worship pagan gods of Baal and Ashtoreth and to be possessed by the demonic spirit within so that they become one with the deity.
Some queer pastors claimed that Jesus did not heal the woman, but she healed herself. Her acceptance of her queerness and rights despite being a woman in a highly patriarchal society led to her healing. If she had stayed at home as a good “housewife”, she would have died. However, she needed both faith in herself, in her basic rights, together with faith that Jesus would accept and heal her.
It is her faith in Jesus that healed her and not faith alone per say. The woman could have tried other faiths and religions which were many in Judea. Yet, she had put her faith in Jesus and her faith was vindicated. She had to first come out of the closet unlike many gays still hiding in the mega churches.
The women tried to heal herself but she failed. The doctors didn’t help and she was in deep pain. Religion didn’t help either for she had an issue of blood which was considered unclean for the religious Jews and priests. Hence, she couldn’t approach the priests because her bible based religious laws prevented her from doing so. She may have tried but got rejected.
At the end, the woman did what was bold and totally against the religious laws for she had no life left in her. If she was going to die, at least she didn’t die not trying. She went out to the streets, and even though weak and fragile after being sick for so long, forced her way through the crowds of men following Jesus. It must have been totally shocking to the religious and the men for this unclean women slowly making her way to Jesus making everyone unclean in the process.
The woman finally reached Jesus, and touched Him. She dared not even asked Jesus for healing fearing that He would have rejected her, but in her faith, she knew that there was power in that name of Jesus. We don’t need to seek permission to see Jesus. When we take off the glasses of hate and homophobia, the deliberatemis-interpretation of bible verses against gays, the rampant inconsistencies and hypocrisy of their biblical interpretations, then, only then we can see and touch Jesus and understanding and affirmation will naturally come.
It took faith, faith that Jesus was not of the old religious wine skin and structure which was based on the Law, but the new wine skin which is of grace through the blood of the Lamb. The law was not meant for the women but for the red neck Jews who often went into pagan worship! It took faith to see that Jesus is God’s love, mercy, and grace.
Even if the women had gone to the priests, there would not have been healing. For the settingwas about a change in the new order, the Old Wineskin being replaced by the New Wineskin ushered in by Jesus’ death and resurrection. The old wineskin is about our good works to comply with the law. The new wineskin is about Jesus’ death and resurrection and the coming power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is the New Wineskin pouring His power and Spirit of the new wine unto society. There were too many holes in the old skin which could not contain the new wine of God’s move and power. As if to emphasize this fact, we were told of a ruler coming to Jesus for healing of His daughter and not the priests of the town. The healing of the woman came along the journey to the ruler’s house and was actually incidental and unplanned. God’s grace is often unplanned and initiated by a faith to grab the opportunity.
Many Gay Christians have sought after Christ but through the Law. You can’t reach God through the law if strictly interpreted may have condemned gays and all other Christians as well. Faith is seeking after Jesus not by the Law but by God’s grace. When the woman touched Jesus, her faith was vindicated.
If Gay Christians only have the faith to believe that Jesus is a good God and is accepting of GLBT peoples beyond the religious rhetoric of the Christian Right, when we reach God, we would find a surprising revelation that all this while Jesus was there and always have been accepting of our sexual orientation. We need to have faith to believe in Jesus’ acceptance, and it is this faith that will drive us on to seek the fullness of God.
The Woman believed in how God saw her as a person of worth and dignity deserving of God’s grace, and blessings. So should gays likewise see ourselves and also believe that God is for us and not against us. God wants to touch us, but we stand afar thinking that God would be insulted because we were gay.
The Woman’s faith had healed her because she had put her faith into action. People with the issue of blood suffers weakness and tiredness. They have no energy. She took her last ounce of strength to wade through the crowd and lunge towards Jesus. As Gay Christians do we spend all our might and strength to seek the real Jesus beyond the imagery and rhetoric of the Christian Right that being gay was a sin! Or do we keep within our comfort zone in the mega churches.
Many Gay Christians are tired and weak, for they are down trodden not only by the condemnation of society and their family but by the church. It is hard just to survive spiritually. Like the woman with the issue of the blood, we lose our energy and strength daily in this fight of faith. We are worn out and many almost at the end point. Today, God is calling us to step forth by faith to touch the real Jesus. It starts by loving ourselves and accepting that we are queer.
Faith not lived out in action avails little. The choice is ours – not to perpetuate the rhetoric of an anti-gay Jesus, but the decision to see the real Jesus in the bible beyond a religious patriarchal construction, and beyond a self-righteous and hypocritical religious dogmas of the church.
God didn’t go to meet the woman, the woman needed to have the faith and take the action to seek after Jesus. She probably only had the one chance when Jesus visited her town. If we are to get our “healing”, that is God’s affirmation of our gay sexual orientation,we can’t stay where we are in the closets of the mega churches.We have to take our chanches.
Jesus is challenging us today to touch Him and receive in return His acceptance and affirmation of our innate gay sexual orientation. It starts with accepting and loving ourselves first before taking on the long journey of seeking the acceptance and affirmative touch from Jesus against the laws of religion and society.It starts by accepting that we are gay and that by faith, God loves and accepts us.
God may be everywhere but He waits for us to take the first step. We can only reach God by the currency of heaven which is Faith.We can only reach God through faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, faith in the name, the nature and character of God.
The woman had faith because she had heard of the wonderful love and power of Jesus Christ. Two thousand years later, God is actually further away for we can’t see Jesus physically, can’t attend His healing and baptism rallies! But we are closer to Jesus like never before because of the Holy Spirit of God. The woman with the issue of God can touch Jesus only once, but we can “touch” Jesus everyday by the Spirit of the Living God.
The Gay Christian community has suffered so much. We are vary and broken but God asking us to make a choice of faith in Jesus Christ and step out of our religious closet. He will do the rest and bring us to resting places beside still waters where the Shepard of God awaits us.
Jesus, what a beautiful name. It is a name above all names. We can't touch Him though without coming out. It is the new Wine of God's grace and mercy that we will receive and not the Old wine of judgement and the law. Drink and be drunk and be merry for the Kingdom of God has come.