Dr. Matt Rindge, assistant professor of Religious Studies at Gonzaga University and a Compassion Child Advocate, spoke at our National Advocates Conference in October. In his message, he shared two observations about Jesus’ ministry.
- The primary effect of Jesus’ healings was to include social outcasts into community.
Jesus’ healings restored outcasts to community by removing the obstacle that made them outcasts. By eating with outcasts, Jesus welcomed and accepted them just as they were.
With the temple incident He critiqued a system/structure that excluded outcasts on the basis of their race.
- Jesus touched those whom He healed. He was willing to get dirty and even become unclean by touching them.
- Lepers (Mark 1:40–45)
- Bleeding / Hemorrhaging Woman (Mark 5:24b-34)
- Jairus’ Daughter (Mark 5:22-24, 35-43)
- Physically Disabled (Mark 2:1-12; 3:1-6; 7:32-37; 10:46-52)
As Compassion Child Advocates we are critical in the work of restoring social outcasts — children in poverty — to community. While I can’t say that I’ve ever healed anybody in Jesus’ name (I’ve tried), I do believe that Jesus is bringing healing through our advocacy — a healing that gives children a voice and that begins to take the poverty out of them.
What I’m especially convicted by is Rindge’s second observation about Jesus’ physical touch. Jesus got dirty, even unclean, according to Jewish law, by doing so.
I confess that a lot of my advocacy hasn’t gone that far.
Wess Stafford, our President and CEO, regularly shares that his mission is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”
I love this statement. What’s also true is that the comfortable may afflict you right back. They did Jesus when they denounced Him for reaching out to social outcasts. And if my advocacy doesn’t result in me being marginalized myself, it’s lacking.
As you “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,” are you encountering resistance?
If you are, it’s probably because you look a lot like Jesus.