The Walmart Lady and Jesus

By: Jenny Stricklin
We were walking out of Walmart when she approached us. Right away, we could tell she was quite different from us in every way. She asked for a ride home across town, but it was obvious she needed so much more than that.

I’m ashamed to admit that my instinct was to turn away, to shield my kid, to make excuses. Because the very kind of person I wanted to avoid, Jesus would have moved straight toward. God in the flesh, the King of Kings, the One who had every right to keep His distance from needy, difficult people instead came near.

This made all the religious people in those days super uncomfortable. What were they to do with this man who was turning their way of life upside down?

Remember the time Jesus touched the leper? In Bible times leprosy was a devastating diagnosis. It was repulsive and contaminating and it wreaked havoc internally and externally. It forced separation from families and friends, and even from God, because lepers were considered ceremonially unclean and unable to worship in the temple. It was a miserable death sentence in those days.

But Jesus put his hand right on that man and healed him without hesitation. This was proof that He had the power to heal an even bigger problem: our rancid sin that, like leprosy, separates us from God and threatens to destroy us from the inside out.

Remember when the paralytic was brought to Jesus? Everyone was focused on the guy’s obvious physical issues. But Jesus used the physical healing as evidence that He had the authority to grant freedom and forgiveness from the devastating consequences of sin as well.

It’s no wonder He shares company with tax collectors and sinners. This is His way. The broken, the untouchables, the rejects – Jesus came for them.

“Healthy people don’t need a doctor,” Jesus said. “Sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” (Luke 5:31)

Until we realize that we are no different - no better or better off – than they are, we’ll never fully grasp the magnitude of His gift to us. And we won’t be compelled to move toward those people that He came to save.

As we dropped the Walmart lady off at her house that day, I pondered Jesus’ heart for her. Though He was God He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His privileges. He took the humble position of a servant and was born as a human being. He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8). For this lady. For me. For you.

Oh, what a Savior.
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