“Why bother the teacher?”

Daily Readings: Joshua 21-22, Mark 5, Psalm 65

When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.

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.”

While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Mark 5:21-43

Seeing these two separate stories juxtaposed next to each other really spoke to me today. In one case there is the woman who truly believes in her heart that “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed!” She believed so thoroughly in the healing power of God to work miracles in her life!

As this is still happening we read of other people coming from the house of Jairus saying, “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

As I was reading this morning it occurred to me that I have frequently been able to relate to each of these stories at different points throughout my own life. There have been times where I completely believe in the Father’s ability to heal me mentally, emotionally, and physically from whatever is holding me captive at the moment. In these moments I absolutely run after the Father know that if I can simply be in his presence all will be well. “If I just touch his clothes…”

Then there have been moments where I feel like I have failed over and over and over again at whatever battle I have been facing and it feels a lot more like the second story. I have felt completely defeated to the point where I don’t even want to bring my concerns to the Father. It feels hopeless. It feels like the last chance for God to work a miracle, in whatever that challenge was in my life, has died.

“Why bother the teacher anymore?”

Why bring this problem to God when I have let him down so many times in the past? Maybe it is just time to throw in the towel on this one and simply be thankful that Christ went to the cross for my sins and I have salvation as a result that cannot be taken away, because clearly I cannot overcome this struggle!

Jesus says, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.”

I wonder if Jesus has ever spoken this to you in an area of your life? I wonder if there has ever been an issue you have dealt with for so long when Jesus says, “This battle is not over yet…” the immediate response in your heart has become the same as in the story, disbelieving laughter.

God wants us to be the woman in the crowd.

“If I can just touch his clothes!”

The woman in the crowd had suffered her bleeding for 12 years before she received healing. The child in the house only recently became sick. Sometimes healing, whether emotional or physical, comes after years and years. Sometimes it is nearly instantaneous.

Healing doesn’t always come the way we picture it. Sometimes God’s plan is different than our own. I imagine Jairus didn’t picture his daughter dying as part of this story as he reached out to Jesus to come to his house and heal her. Sometimes the healing we are after is one type and yet Jesus uses our challenge to give us healing in a different area we never even realize we needed.

Press in. Draw near. Chase after his presence. Reach out and touch his clothes. Jesus is there and the Father is willing.

Thought to ponder

In what area of my life have I recently given up on the hope of healing? Where have I recently felt like “I should no longer bother the teacher”?

Sharing with the Romans

Daily Readings – Exodus 35-36, Psalm 29, Romans 3

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Romans 3:19-24

I love Romans. It is so incredibly rich all of the way through.

You can tell early in Romans that Paul is speaking to an audience of intellectual skeptics. He is speaking to the type of crowd that is always ready with the next, “Yeah, but what about…” trying to poke holes in every facet of the gospel.

As marketplace missionaries, I think we can all relate to that!

The letters from Paul to the various churches provides us with so much amazing ammo if we truly seek to win over the hearts and minds of people within out sphere of influence to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

You can almost hear the peppering of questions from the Romans that prompted this portion of the letter.

“But Paul, I am a pretty good guy! I love my wife and kids. I generally try to do the right thing. Shouldn’t that be enough? Why is it necessary to have faith in Jesus? Why would a loving God put in this extra step? Why would a loving God not allow good people into Heaven based on not believing in Jesus? Isn’t that a bit narrow? If all that is required to have salvation is faith in Jesus, why did God ever lay out all of his laws in the first place?”

Paul responds simply and powerfully. The law gives us the ability to look in the mirror and become conscious of our sin. It gives us the chance to say, “Darn, I guess I do have some shortcomings. I guess Paul was right when he said that we have all fallen short of the glory of God.”

Without God laying out how he wants us to live in painstaking detail, we would all be left with that vague notion that “I am a pretty good guy. Isn’t that enough?”

The law is there is for us. But thankfully, so is Jesus.

The law convicts us in the fact that we could never earn salvation because there will always be an area in our lives where we fall short. The law points us to the fact that faith in Jesus is our only true hope. And that hope is given freely so that none of us could say that we earned it. It is given freely to all to show God’s love and righteousness. That is incredibly good news!

I love this portion of Romans because it not only speaks powerfully the fundamental truth of the gospel, but it also gives us a blueprint for how we should approach evangelism with skeptics.

I love being able to share Christ with folks that are struggling in their life and already know they are missing something. So many of them are ready and willing to hear the truth. I love planting seeds in this fertile soil that Jesus talked about in Matthew. I struggle, however, having the desire to go after the intellectual skeptic. I am nervous chasing after the person I know is going to try to pick my argument apart. I have complete confidence in my own faith, but will I be able to articulate it well to them? Will I be able to answer their questions effectively enough to win them over? What if they ask tough questions I am not equipped to answer?

It is so easy to head down that path of “What if…?” and never reach out to the Romans in our own lives.

God wants us to be brave. God wants us to exam our own faith, spend time in his word, and dive deeper into his truth each and every day to not only continue our own transformation, but also to equip us with knowledge for the Romans.

That being said, it is hard to ever feel fully equipped. It is easy to rationalize not talking to the skeptic “until I am more ready”.

We worship a God who is big enough to prepare the heart of a skeptic if it is his will that they be reached at this moment in time. We worship a God that wants to help us with our words if we would just have faith the size of a mustard seed that he will be there to help us if we want to share the story of his amazing love.

Paul states the gospel in a beautifully simple way today. It is something we should all commit to memory when dealing with the skeptics in our lives.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

We have all fallen short and will continue to do so. God loves us so much and wanted every single one of us in Heaven with him so badly that he sent his only son and gave the gift of redemption freely away. We don’t have to earn it through striving, but rather through submitting and accepting of the free gift.

That is incredibly good news and news worth sharing!

Thought to ponder

What has held me back from speaking with boldness to the “Romans” in my own life? Who is one person God is calling me to share his love with?

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