Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mark 5: 24b-34

"A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"

"You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?' "

But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

I love this story of the woman who came up to Jesus and thought, "If I could just touch his clothing...I know I would be healed." To have that kind of faith in the One who healed the blind, and brought the dead to life again. Wow, how different my faith would look.

Jesus felt the healing power leave his body...and immediately wanted to know who did it. So, His disciples make the statement..."There are so many here pushing up against us, how would we ever know who did that?" This statement tells me many things. People could be that close to Him and could have touched Him yet, not feel His true power of healing and love. This woman knew...she knew in her heart, if I could just touch the man, I could be healed. So in a crowd of many she was able to reach out and touch His robe...and after 12 years, 12 YEARS of pain and suffering she was healed. She had to confess to Him what she had done. She heard Him say, "I felt it...someone touched me."

In my devotional Bible I was told to go back and read in the Book of Ruth. To read the story again about Ruth & Naomi. The story of Ruth takes place during the spiritually dark days of the Judges. Ruth lives during this evil period in Israel's history, but she does not surrender to it's moral decay. No Ruth's story is about integrity, righteousness, and faithfulness. This story of Ruth covers a period of about 11 -12 years in time. Now she is a pretty important woman...because there are only 2 women in the Bible who have Books named after them, Ruth & Esther.

Ruth's story opens with a severe famine in the land of Israel. This famine forces the Israelite Elimelech to move his wife Naomi, and their 2 sons to Moab, to a country to the east. While living in Moab, both sons marry Moabite women...but then both sons die and so does their father Elimelech. Now left alone Naomi decides to return to her homeland and suggests to the 2 daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah,that they remain in their own land of Moab. Orpah chooses to stay and is never heard of again...but Ruth, Ruth chooses to cling to Naomi and follow her God of Israel. Because of her desire to be faithful to Naomi, Ruth gives up her gods, her culture, and her people.

I want you to read this Book of Ruth...I am not going to tell you the whole story. It is an amazing story of great encouragement as God provides an example to us of godly behavior in the midst of widespread ungodliness. Ruth's faithfulness to follow the God of Israel leads to a great blessing not only for her, but for Naomi as well. Ultimately it turns into a blessing for the whole world as she takes her place in the family line of Jesus Christ.

Now I understood why when I was reading in the Book of Mark about this woman who came to just touch the robe of Jesus...that my devotional took me to read Ruth's story. What I might think to be a tragedy is God's opportunity to show Himself faithful. This woman was bleeding for 12 one could heal her. She had spend all her money on doctors trying to find her answer...then Jesus came...she had an opportunity to drop her gods, her culture, her poverty...and just touch His worship Him. She had the faith that things would change if she just could do that one thing! God honors a faithful heart. Good character is a noble quality that God wants to bless.

When the woman realizes that Jesus knows she has been healed...she gets scared...but comes forward and admits what she has done. She realized it worked! So in her confession of her act...Jesus can see her real heart. He blesses her and tells her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

So many of us can learn from this simple touch. God tells us if we have faith...we can move mountains. But because we doubt...we find ourselves struggling to be healed...going from one doctor to another looking for answers. One vice to another..trying to be satisfied. When all we need is Him!

So I ask you, have you just tried to touch His robe? Remember this,
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Phillipians 4:6 NIV).

Mama Barb

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