Thursday, July 31, 2014

Of Faith and Fear

Thursday, July 31, 2014
A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure.  Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe.  Immediately, the bleeding stopped.  “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.  Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.”  But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.”  Luke 8:43-46 (NLT)
Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit.  At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.  The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened.  The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead.  They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.  The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened.  They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”  Matthew 27:50-54 (NLT)
I never thought about the connection before this morning.  These two events are so connected; they show what happens in the presence of Jesus.
A woman, desperate to end a twelve-year struggle to regain physical health (as well as social and spiritual wholeness), touches Jesus; in the faith that reaches out to touch, power is released and the woman is made whole.
Sometime later, at the cross, Jesus released possession of the life of his incarnate body and it touched everything in sight; the earth shook, rocks split and tombs could no longer contain the long-dead bodies…they got up and walked the streets of Jerusalem!
In the case of the woman, there is one final, desperate attempt to find life again.  In that ancient culture it was unacceptable for a woman to simply touch a man in public.  And with her continual bleeding, she was “impure,” an outcast, unfit to worship or interact with others.  She was risking everything to touch a rabbi, a “holy man”.  But she was releasing it all in faith to touch Jesus – and she received; his healing power was released.
On Golgotha’s cross, Jesus did the releasing (of his spirit into the Father’s keeping).  That so-affected the surrounding natural environment, rocks couldn’t hold together, the temple’s curtain-wall split and graves vacated.  And the guards trembled!

The Connection

In both events people involved, the woman and Roman guards were trembling; the woman, before being touched, was trembling in faith; the soldiers afterward were trembling in fear.
And that is always the difference between faith and sight.  When you tremble in faith, it is the expectant, desperate need to be in Christ’s will and care that results in being touched by His power – that’s when joy turns trembling into healing.
When you tremble in fear it is because you’ve not entrusted yourself to His power, and you’re simply overwhelmed by how wide the gap is between the power you thought you had, and what you’ve witnessed is God’s reality.
For You, Today
Here you are at another moment of choice – life is full of ‘em, eh?
Which to you want to be today?

Like the woman:  powerless, but touched by infinite power;
Or like the soldier:  in-charge, but ultimately powerless to do anything but watch?

Should be a no-brainer if your heart belongs to Jesus.

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