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Monday, May 9, 2011

Press Through

I am amazed at the many lessons that can be learned from one story.  God continually shows me that He has so many layers of truth.  We'll spend an eternity discovering newer and newer layers.

Recently, the Holy Spirit brought to mind the story of the woman with the blood disease.  I've written about her before in "More than a Hem".  If you haven't read it, check out my sept. 2009 posting.  Anyway, the Spirit showed me another dimension of this story.  As you may or may not know, this woman with the blood disease approached Jesus in the midst of a crowd.  In fact the crowd followed him and pressed him in.  Luke says that the crowds almost crushed him.  Sounds like a mob--huh?  Everyone wanted to see what he was going to do for the  ruler's daughter who was sick.  He was on his way to the ruler's home.

While on his way, Jesus stopped.  He questioned the crowd, "Who touched me?"  The question seemed a bit absurd given the crushing crowd around him.  Interestingly, everyone denied touching him.  (Sort of like what happens in my house when I'm trying to find out who did something wrong. ) Even his disciples were a bit sarcastic in there response.  "Um...Jesus, the crowd is pressing around  you. Pretty much everyone is touching you." (my modern paraphrase) Jesus continued, "Someone touched me.  I felt power leave my body."  Well, as the story goes on, the woman with the bleeding problem reveals herself. 

So here's the powerful revelation:  Many people seemed to be followers of Jesus.  Many seemed near him, but only one set out to intentionally touch him. Only one experienced his healing power in her life.  Only one pressed through the crowd believing that Jesus would set her free.  This lady pressed through.  She risked everything to get to Jesus.  And not only was she immediately healed, but she was blessed with an intimate, face-to-face conversation with Jesus.  Jesus stopped everything, to talk with this woman.  See many seemed near Jesus, but none of them experienced a personal interaction with him. Interestingly, the crowd that seemed to be followers of Jesus, were actually a hindrance to those who truly sought Jesus.  Yet, the woman didn't let them stop her.

I've observed the same thing happening in our churches today.  Many seem to be touching Jesus.  Many seem near him.  Many go to church.  Many read and study their Bible--even memorize scripture.  Many go to christian schools, listen to christian music, buy christian stuff, but few have actually touched Jesus.  Few people have experienced His power in their lives.  Most are content to see him work in other people's lives, to hear about him, or to study about him.  Very few are willing to press through the christian culture, press through their preconceived notions about Jesus, press through what they've been taught about Jesus, press through their pain, press through their insecurities, press through their comfort, press through their fears ... press through to get to Jesus.  Understand that pressing through isn't easy.  It makes other people uncomfortable when you press through to get to Jesus.  Imagine how many people were annoyed with the woman as she pressed through the crowd.  I'm sure she was apologetic, but she was on a mission.  Are you? 

How desperate are you to experience His power?  How desperate are you to experience freedom, and healing?  How desperate are you to see His beauty?  How desperate are you to experience abundant life?

Those who choose to press through walk a narrow, narrow path.  Some think this path is reserved for the spiritually elite, the prayer warriors,  pastors, or missionaries.  No.  It is the path that all who follow Jesus should be walking.  It is the only way to life.

Matt 7:14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

 On the flip side, are we hindrances to others getting to Jesus.  Has our religiosity, our programs, our christian conservatism, our political beliefs, our judgementalism, our christian bubbles, or our limited views of God kept people from connecting with Jesus? Quite convicting, I must admit.  We must be willing to ponder this question--especially when we seem to be swimming with the culture--the crowd.  If we will ask the Holy Spirit the question, you can be sure that He is ready and willing to give you the answer.

I leave you with this encouragement:  Press through to intimately connect with the King of the Universe.  Press through with an expectation that He will heal, save, free, and give you life and power.  

Do not stop until you touch  Him.

From one pressing through the crowd. 

4 comments:

  1. Well written! Thank you.

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  2. I'm salivating; desiring more of Him...pressing through along with you!!!! Wow!!!! Beautiful...I don't only want to admire what you have written; but I want to live it...praise God for this loving, yet, convicting post!!!! Wow!!! Our God is so awesome...and you reveal a glimpse of Him!

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  3. I also have been struck by the story of this woman -- and have often wondered why Christ took such pains to draw her out. One thought I've had is that everyone who knew her knew her problem; there's no way she could be significantly more embarrassed than she had over the last many many years; and she was now publicly healed and cleansed -- a gift indeed.

    I hear you about the Christian culture and the shallowness of it all. We've orbited around the edge, didn't find what we needed when we needed it, and, through circumstances, found ourselves launched as Independent Christians.

    I do not agonize as they do in Sunday School over, "Am I following Christ? Am I truly living for Christ?" because I'm so busy grabbing onto His robe and trying to keep upright each day on this narrow, rocky, difficult path, that exercising my faith is a daily part of my breathing, not an abstract concept to discuss while sipping coffee and eating the allotted half-doughnut.

    Thank you for visiting my site at www.middleagedplague.areavoices.com, and, if you have not done so already, I invite you to do the e-mail sign up (make sure to Activate the account when you are sent the e-mail to do so, please) or join the Google Friend connect.

    You are expressing good thoughts that need to be expressed, and we all need to work ourselves toward the answers. I enjoy your site.

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  4. Thank you my friend, for stopping by and for posting your thoughts. Drop by often, as I plan to drop by your blog often.

    I do talk a bit more about this woman in a previous post, and I believe you are right in saying that this woman was known to be unclean by her community. In the Jewish culture, a woman who was bleeding was considered unclean and not to be touched. I love that Jesus LOVES to touch the "untouchables"!

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