Rubbing Shoulders

    Watchman Nee, as he so often has, took me deeper into His word and truth today.  He writes on the Lord's healing of the woman with the menstrual affliction, causing her to experience constant bleeding and is related in Mark 5.  The woman had suffered this disease and in Jewish society, it rendered her unclean, which meant that she was isolated from that society on every level.  Jesus has come, and as He walks through her hometown, a crowd surrounds Him on every side.  The woman, whose state had to be known to many in the crowd, nevertheless worked her way through it, believing that if she were just able to touch Him, lay hold of Him, she could receive healing.  She did lay hold of Him, and she was healed.  The crowd did not deter, nor their opinions of her.  The seeming impossibility of her condition didn't sway her either.  She sought Him, and she found Him.  Yet, it is to none of these directly that Nee speaks.  What he does say should pierce us not only as individuals, but as corporate fellowships as well, and on every level of what we call relationship with Him.  What we call worship.
    Nee spoke of the throng that surrounded Jesus.  Everyone milling about Him, everyone wanting to see, to get a glimpse of the One they had heard so much about.  They may have been what we call "seekers," but their seeking was only on the surface.  The woman alone sought to touch Him.  I share here how Nee expresses the difference between the crowd, and the woman.  "It is useless to merely rub shoulders with the Lord.  All too many today acquaint themselves with the externalities of Jesus of Nazareth without touching the Son of God as she did.  They stay in the outside world of thronging and never enter into the inner world of touching.....Merely to throng Him is of no avail.  Reach out the trusting hand to touch Him, and diseases are healed and problems solved."
    How much of what we call relationship and worship in our lives and in our fellowships is really nothing more than "thronging Jesus?"  In our personal lives with Him, we read our 3 chapters of the Bible, utter a few minutes of prayer, maybe even have a short reading, and we call it our quiet time.  We may have rubbed shoulders with Him there, but did we really lay hold of Him?  Did we really touch Him, and more, did He touch us?  Did anything transformative take place?  Did we take at least one step more into the depths of who He is?  
   The same must be asked of our corporate times in Him.  Did we, as we so often do with each other, merely rub shoulders with Him in the time we call worship?  We may have sung a few songs, or at least listened to them, heard the word read, even preached.  Our emotions may have been touched, but not our spirits.  There has been no real encounter.  Jesus may have passed through our "town," and we may have been in the throng that watched Him, but like all those who thronged Him then, we never touched Him, or He us.  Our true need remains unhealed, untouched.  We've rubbed shoulders with Him, but we never encountered Him.
    In the heart of the woman with what the King James called "the issue of blood," was a deep, undeniable desire to not only be healed, but to touch Him.  Lay hold of Him.  The crowd, the throng, were really just curiosity seekers.  Glimpses of Jesus were enough for them.  Is it, has it been, enough for us?  Is rubbing shoulders with Him going to continue to be enough for you and I?  Or, like the woman, will we have a desire, a hunger and thirst for Him that will not be denied, and will only be satisfied when we lay hold of Him as He at the same time lays hold of us?  Part of the throng, or part of Him.  Which will we be?

Pastor O

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   May 2019   
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