In Australia, when a guest arrives with others, maybe a friend or two who were not invited, but came as a suggestion of the guest, we call them “Hangers on”.
Usual etiquette by the host of a barbecue or get together is to welcome all, including the “hangers on”.
But when you are one of the “hangers on”, you may not feel entitled to partake of all that is offered, in particular, food and drink. There may well be a sense of not really belonging, and other guests may avoid direct contact, we call that “snubbing”.
So what about Jesus, and us, and heaven, and especially judgement day???
Will we be hangers on to Jesus? Or to others that are better known by Jesus? Will we still partake of all that is offered? Will we get through the judgement?
Wouldn’t it be awkward to be in heaven, but to have to stick to the back-rows, in case God notices that we are there, and decides that hangers on are not welcome?
The woman who touched Jesus robe was a hanger-on. She just wanted to touch his robe, but didn’t necessarily want to speak with him.
(Un)fortunately Jesus realized someone had touched his robe, and wouldn’t let that pass.
With authority he enquired who the offender was.
Trembling the woman confessed her action, and the effect of her being healed.
But rather than chastise, Jesus blessed her, commending her faith.
Though she didn’t realize it, her faith made her belong. She wasn’t just a hanger on.
So it is with us, I trust. We who have faith, though weak, though insecure, though undeserving, though we feel like hangers on, we are adopted by God, cleansed by Jesus blood, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and are full members of his family. What grace, what love, what sacrifice!