Friday, February 25, 2011

To Touch Holiness

One of my favorite Bible stories is the healing of the woman with the issue of blood which is found in Matthew chapter 9, Mark chapter 5, and Luke chapter 8. The story is powerful when one looks at the dynamics and personalities involved. In Mark's version, the story is proceeded by two other miracles, the calming of the storm, and the healing of a demon-possessed man.  I have always been overwhelmed and continue to be moved by this woman who touched Jesus' garment. The crowd was already stirred up when Jesus arrived after crossing over to the other side of the lake. Perhaps what was even more shocking is what happened next. A ruler of the synagogue actually came to Jesus seeking His help for the ruler's dying daughter. That a man of such importance would actually come to Jesus probably threw the crowd over the edge! As Jesus started to go with him, you can imagine the crowd wanting to be in on the action. Everyone was focused on Jairus' situation except this one woman. She was focused on Jesus. She had suffered much and because of her condition had literally no friends or family. No one wanted to be associated with this unclean woman. And it was evident from the fact that she didn't want to be noticed that she was well aware of her status in the society. So her plan was to be unobtrusive and just touch Jesus' garment, knowing full well that in doing so according to the Law, she would defile Jesus. But Jesus didn't want her to be an unknown. And when He stopped the moving crowd to focus in on her, this woman's heart must have sank. It was all over! Now everyone would know of her sin, that she had defiled Jesus. That is probably why Mark describes her as "falling at Jesus' feet trembling with fear" (Mark 5:33) But Jesus wanted to showcase her faith. He knew how scared she was and what courage it took to touch Him. I want to be that close to Jesus. Just like that woman, I can be in bondage to my fears and "suffer" needlessly. Jesus tender words to her are His words to me, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." (Mark 5:34) It doesn't take much to be healed. However, we need to appropriate the faith graciously given by a God who wants to "showcase" us. No longer do I have to crawl along the ground like that woman bound up in shame and defeat. The Lord bids me to stand up and be seen. It just takes one touch of the Lord's garment. Do we dare to draw that close to Him?
Pastor Sheree

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