How Far Will You Go?
How Far Will You Go?
Recently I read a short article in a popular Christian magazine on the woman who had the issue of bleeding, from Mark chapter 5. Knowing this just isn’t an easy read, a topic we tend to quickly skim over, due to the … um… content. But, I saw something in it, that challenged me. I went to the chapter and began wading through.
Let’s put this story in context. Jesus has just returned from a demonic moment (casting out the legion and blessing the pigs with them). Now back over on this side of the lake, He again is confronted with another crowd of folks. As Jesus moves through the men, women and children…
NOW – enters our woman (may I say desperate woman.) Verse 25 begins to describe this gal as one who had been afflicted for a very long time. She has sought help elsewhere, and it clearly states that instead of improving, her condition even worsens. I love verse 27, ‘when she heard about Jesus, she came…’. One resource claims that she may have traveled some 30 miles to get there. WOW…. That’s desperate! The story proceeds with, ‘she came up behind Jesus and touched His cloak’. This alone is a great step of faith… but it says she came to Him ‘in the crowd.’ Let’s think about this. She is, as culture and tradition states, ceremonially ‘unclean’, and should NOT be touching anyone, for they too would be unclean. BUT…. out of desperation….‘if I just touch His clothes… I will be healed’. (said with exasperation) verse 28.
I want to pause here… let’s go back….(before she left) back to her home… let’s assume it is 30 miles away. I enjoy trying to see as those saw who encountered and experienced Jesus. What was she thinking, what was she feeling? I want us to place ourselves in her place. Oh we may not have an issue of bleeding (physically) but we may have an issue of hurting, pain, or just plain ‘issues’. Issues that we too have sought help elsewhere, and just like her, see no improvement and we are only getting worse.
What do we do now? We’ve heard about Jesus, all His is, all He does. Do we stay? Do we leave our familiar surroundings and venture out. No matter what the distance was, I am confident that as this gal was on the road, placing one foot in front of the other, she ‘knew’ deep down Jesus was her only hope. And to allow this hope to bring her healing, she HAD to go to Him.
Back to Mark, verse 29… ‘immediately her bleeding stopped… and she was freed from her suffering’, (would you love to have some ‘immediately… you are freed?) This only came as she took a risk, reached out – and touched. Can you imagine! I know for me, my first thought would be, ‘geez, why didn’t I do this ages ago’ (just kidding). As the Lord turns and begins a dialog with her, He calls her…. ‘Daughter’. That alone would send me over the edge. In her affliction she may have been known as an outcast, one who didn’t join in, wanted to, but this affliction caused her to hold back, knowing she would not be accepted. ‘Daughter’ … THAT is acceptance.
As I read through this, I felt the Lord say, that we too are like this woman at times… (and I am quite sure often in our life time). We too have issues that cause us to ‘hold back’ and not join in… missing out on a lot. We are lost in our affliction, but once we come to the realization that He alone can and will help us…. we then get up and go to Him.
Where are you? And how far will you go? Are you still at home… mustering the courage to pack your bags and head out for Jesus? Or are you on the road, finding that the blisters on your feet are causing you doubts of ‘is this worth it?’ Oh it is soooo worth it! Maybe you are on the outskirts of the crowd… feeling really insecure… not wanting to enter. Or, are you standing there, so near… oh so near…. hesitating to reach out. Take the risk! Reach out… be healed.
The word that is used for her touch… is ‘haptomai’. She didn’t just reach out and flick her hand across the hem of His garment. She grabbed it! The Complete Word Study Dictionary, words it this way…. ‘haptomai refers to such handling of an object as to exert a modifying influence upon or upon oneself.’ She grabbed that garment so tight, that she may have left an imprint of her hand on it.
Please notice, that as the woman touched Jesus, He felt the power go out of Him. He asked ‘who touched Me?’ Now try to find the one touching in a large crowd, seems very insignificant. Ever come out of a concert or conference and people everywhere, you are bumping, tapping and running into many. Jesus did not let the issue drop. I honestly believe He knew. He knew who touched Him. But He wanted her to know. Yes, she was healed, but there was more… He wanted a face to face encounter. In this face to face encounter, she falls at His feet.
What a beautiful picture this is, that Jesus sought her out. He goes to whatever extent it will take to make sure ‘we know’.
This week, may we come to a place that enough is enough, in whatever afflicts us. We get up and go to Him. He is never too busy with the crowd to seek us out in our seeking Him out. Be healed, fall at His feet, and allow Him too… to call you ‘daughter’ – ‘son’.
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 You thrill me, LORD!)