Pressing Jesus


 The story of the woman with the "issue of blood" that's told in Luke 8:42-48, speaks to me in so many ways.  She had been suffering for 12 years with an ongoing menstrual problem, one that rendered her unclean according to Jewish law.  More, she had spent all she had seeking a cure, yet no one could help her.  Jesus was walking through a heavy crowd, and she was part of that crowd.  Many were pressing in on Him, touching Him, and she, hoping against hope, pressed in on Him as well.  Scripture tells us that she sought to just touch the fringe of His robe, believing just doing that might bring healing.  Immediately she was healed, and Jesus, realizing that healing had flowed out of Him, asked, "Who touched Me?"  I think He asked that question for the benefit of His disciples and the crowd around Him, not because He didn't know.  The disciples, shocked at the question, since there was such a great crowd about Him, all pressing in, touching Him, wondered how anyone could distinguish between the touches.  Yet Jesus could, and did.  Have you ever wondered why?
     In that crowd, there had to have been many, perhaps all, who wanted to touch Him, wanted to receive something from Him, and certainly, the woman did as well, yet it was only her that Jesus stopped and took note of.  Again, why?  I've come to believe that the reason He did is that there was something in the woman's desire and heart that set her apart from the rest of the crowd.  Yes, she sought to be healed, but I think that being healed alone was not her central desire.  I believe that she didn't want to just touch Him in order to receive something for herself, but that she might receive Him as well.  There is a great difference.  Hers had been a life of loss and emptiness, and isolation.  Somehow, she saw in Jesus not only the answer to her physical need, but her emotional and spiritual as well.  The long years of illness had likely brought a brokenness that put her beyond just a desire for it to end, but a desire for something more, much more.  A desire for Someone, and that Someone, she sensed, was the Christ who was passing by.  When she reached out to touch Him, Jesus perceived that, perceived that unlike the rest of the crowd, she wanted something more than relief, deliverance, or help, she wanted Him, and as His healing flowed out of Him to her, so did the essence of who He was. She did lay hold of His healing, but much more, she laid hold of Him.  How does that speak to you and me?
     If you're one who is reaching out to Him today, in what way, and what for are you reaching?  Do you see Jesus merely as an answer to your problems, the heavenly "Fixer" who straightens out our mess, gets us out of trouble, makes problems go away, or, is He to you, something more, something much more?  Do you want to encounter Him for what you will get, how He will profit you, or, do you want to lay hold of Him because you want Him, who He is, for the joy and wonder of having Him, knowing Him, being with Him?  The very well known, but little understood scripture that exhorts us, and promises us, that if we seek first His Kingdom, Himself, that "all these things will be given us as well."  We've translated "these things" as all that will benefit and bless "us."  Too often, most often, we're like the nameless crowd, only interested in these things, not Him.  We spend our personal prayer time, our corporate worship times, consumed with laying hold of the things, not Him, and clearly, Jesus knows the difference.  Do we?
     No one else in that crowd is mentioned, or noticed.  The crowd remains the crowd.  The question for you and I is; will we remain in the crowd, pressing in on Him, but never laying hold of Him?  He's passing by.  What will we do?

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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