Summary: How do you respond to the Presence of the Master? This message suggests three possibilities.
The Touch of Faith
Pastor Dave Campbell,
Family Worship Centre
Mark’s Gospel brings us face to face with two stories of God’s amazing healing power. We find a woman who had been sick with an incurable condition for 12 years, and a little girl who had been well for 12 years, but now at the point of death. All may come with their needs to our compassionate Lord! The ground always was and always will be level at Jesus’ feet!
Today, I would like to focus on the woman with the issue of blood and draw your attention to the different ways people responded to His presence:
1. SOME CROWDED HIM. Vs. 31
We get the picture of a very large crowd of people packed into a narrow street. It must have been bedlam! Folks from all backgrounds and of all ages bumping into Him and rubbing shoulders with the Master! Quite amazing when you think of it; jostling with the crowd and bumping into the One in Whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells! Yet no one there received a miracle, even though they touched Him and crowded Him. No really expected a miracle or asked for one.
Isn’t that like many of us at times? We walk into church, sing a few songs, raise our hands and our hearts toward heaven, pray and worship in His presence. Jesus did say that where two or three are gathered in His Name that He would be in our midst. Yet we often only rub shoulders with Him, shake hands with our friends in Christ and go out the door unchanged. Another ho-hum Sunday, "let’s have lunch!"
Isn’t it incredible how we can be in His awesome Presence and be so unaware of His mighty power! Often too pre-occupied to notice that maybe God wants to speak to us or move in our midst! Let’s never become so familiar with the Gospel that we find it old or stale!
2. SOME PUSHED HIM. Vs. 24
"Come on Jesus! Got to get to Jairus’ house, fast!" It was an urgent visit and time was of the essence! In one sense, this was an admirable thing! They wanted to see this little girl healed! At times like this, someone needs to get Jesus involved!
What the crowd didn’t know was that He wanted to do something right here, right now. Sometimes God puts us on a holding pattern while He focuses our attention on what He wants to do in the present.
I’ve found that you can’t push God around, give Him directions or a time limit. There is a great temptation to consider prayer as the art of bossing God around. The sooner we give up trying to fit God into our own agenda, placing Him where we think He should be or trying to convince Him of what is important and what is not, the better! I’ve noticed from my years of ministry that God will not be relegated to a program or a schedule. The best we can do is be sensitive to what He is saying, or doing or where He is going. Let us be aware of the subtle temptation to box God in.
3. One Really Touched Him. Vs. 26
Out from the crowd comes a hopeless, discouraged woman. She had tried everything to become well, but her hard-earned money was wasted on the medical help available at the time. In fact, she became worse. Dr. Luke was kinder in his Gospel when he said: "None could heal her."
A word about her condition: This "issue of blood" seems to be a gynecological flow of blood. Common enough, but hard to deal with. Not only did this condition affect her health, but it also made her "unclean". According to the Law of Moses, she was to keep her distance and shout, "Unclean." She was cut off from worship and fellowship with her friends. She felt hopeless and unworthy, lonely, isolated, hurt, angry and alienated from God.
Note that there are people like her all around us today as well. Maybe you’ve tried everything and nothing has helped you. Only believe!
When Jesus appeared on the scene, something began to well up within her. There was something about this preacher Who talked of God’s love. He seemed so kind and approachable! Although the Law said "Stay Back!", this Man seemed to say, "if you are weary, come to Me!"
Perhaps this woman had listened to Him teach and wondered if this Teacher could help her in her hopeless situation.
In verse 28, we notice, "For she said…" J.B Phillips renders it: "She kept on saying." Matthew 9:21 has it: "For she said to herself…" Encouraging herself in the Lord and speaking to her own spirit. That’s what faith is made of! She had "pressing in" faith. She was absolutely determined! Nothing was going to stop her! Not the crowd, not the Pharisees, not the protective disciples, not pain or weakness. "If I can just touch the hem of His garment…" A little superstitious maybe, but Jesus responded. The hem of His garment was a point of contact for her faith, but her heart was the key! Immediately, she felt in her body that she had been healed!