A good section, and a logical starting point after his introductory material in the early part of this section. His point about the holistic nature of God’s peace is important. Too often I think Christians have this quasi-gnostic idea that the body is a bad thing and it’s the spirit that matters. But we were created – pre-Fall – as both body and spirit. It is only when the two are properly joined that we can be said to be truly human. That’s the devestating awfulness of death – it separates the body and soul for some period of time. This is what we fear. I believe at a primal level, we know this is what death is, and why we’re so scared of it.
Bell’s exegesis about the woman being healed is interesting. It could be very valid. Then again, she could have just been desperate. Who knows how educated she was? Who knows how well-versed she was in the Scriptures? This was a woman who had lived on the outside of society for a LONG time. If you were desperate enough, wouldn’t you try just about anything – anyone – that promised the possibility of a cure?
My pointing this out is that with Bell’s exegesis, the woman has the intellectual side of faith together. At least in Lutheran circles, this is the only side we have left, all too often. Intellectual assent and rationalizations. We believe, but we don’t act. We confess, but we stand still. This woman acted, she moved. Did she have her theology properly in place to motivate her movement? Maybe. But maybe not. Maybe, she acted in desperation with the faith of the desperate, and that was enough. Maybe the intellectual side of it was superfluous. Jesus certainly doesn’t quiz her to see if she has him properly figured out.
I wish that more Lutherans today acted and moved from that level of desperation and need. The need to risk so much on the odd chance that God might answer their prayer.