Hi, this is Pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures.
Have you ever experienced desperate times? My life hasn’t been trouble free by any means, but in comparison to the experiences of other’s I’m not sure I would look back at my life and say it was filled with desperate times. When I compare my experiences to the people who lived through the dark days of the depression in the 1930’s, or those who experienced the horrors of war, or any of the other desperate times in history, my difficulties…even the worst of them don’t begin to compare. Most of us do have personal examples of this statement being found true at some point in our lives however. When I was diagnosed with cancer it didn’t seem ludicrous at all that I was in a hurry to let a surgeon cut the cancerous organ from my body regardless of the other physical difficulties that would likely ensue. I guess it is true, desperate times do call for desperate measures. Today I want to look at an account in God’s word of a desperate time in a certain woman’s life, and the desperate measures she was willing to take in response her difficulty.
Mark 5:21-29 Say this, Jesus got into the boat again and went back to the other side of the lake, where a large crowd gathered around him on the shore. Then a leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, arrived. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet, pleading fervently with him. “My little daughter is dying,” he said. “Please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live.” Jesus went with him, and all the people followed, crowding around him. A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.
This account makes mention of two unrelated desperate people. Jairus, who was a part of the church leadership system that despised Jesus, pleaded with Him to come to his house and heal his little girl who was dying. I imagine it must have been a difficult thing for him to get on his knees and beg Jesus (someone his peers hated) to come and heal someone even more important to him that he personally had no ability to help. Why was Jairus willing to do that? Desperate times call for desperate measures. In that same crowd, the bible says, there was another desperate person. A woman who had spent all of her money on doctors who were unable to stop her hemorrhaging for twelve long years! The bible tells us that though she had done all she knew how to do to that point, she had gotten no better and was in fact getting worse.
I’m not sure in our modern western society many of us really understand what the true scope of that woman’s problem was. We can read about her condition, but I’m not sure most of us really understand what it must have been like for her. No doubt, all those years she had been tired and weak both physically and emotionally. At that time in Israel, she would have been treated as a total outcast both physically and spiritually. According to Levitical law she was unclean, and would have caused anyone she touched, anyone who touched her, or even sat where she had, to become unclean as well. When she left her home she would have been forced to keep her distance from others and to loudly warn them she was unclean so they would not risk coming in contact with her. According to the law if she had gone into the temple in her condition the penalty would have been death. Her uncleanliness kept her from relationships with people and from worshipping her God the way she had been brought up to do. Things had become desperate for her indeed!
This woman had no doubt heard about Jesus and the power He seemed to have to heal people at will. She decided that she had to see Him. But how? If she went out to the crowds to find him, and was heard yelling “Unclean…unclean!” she would never get anywhere near Him. ‘Desperate times call for desperate measures.’ I don’t know for sure because we aren’t told, but I imagine as she approached Jesus she was being careful to avoid touching other people in the crowd. The Bible records that she came up behind Jesus, I believe she did this to keep the law and avoid coming into contact with anyone else. I would imagine most of those crowding up to Him would have been in front and to the sides of Jesus trying to get His attention. I think she decided that coming from behind was the only way she could get near Jesus and still do what was required by the Law. The scripture does tell us that she believed that if she could just touch His clothes she would be healed. As she did what her faith compelled her to do, we read she was indeed instantly healed.
In that moment there was an exchange between this desperate woman and Christ, her Messiah. We will read that power went out of Him and her illness left her. This account goes on to tell us much more of the verbal exchange between her and Jesus, and next week I plan to look at that part of the account in greater detail. Today however. I want to focus on this part of her story.
This woman had desperate faith, so desperate that she did the unfathomable and something even more incredible happened for her. Under the Law by touching Jesus her action should have made Christ unclean, instead through the power of Grace she was made clean by Him. The same thing happens for us when we come to Jesus with our sin. Prior to accepting that His death on the cross was to make payment for the penalty of our sin, we can’t have access to God. Our sin in God’s presence would necessitate our death, the same penalty the law required if that woman entered the temple while she was considered unclean. What she knew in her heart was that she needed to get close to Jesus and she believed that if she could just touch His clothes she would be healed. Her faith would not be deterred. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and so she set out to find her way to Jesus.
Like the woman in this account, we have to approach Christ with a determined faith, we have to come to a place where we realize nothing else, no one else, can save us from the disease of our sin. We have to be desperate for a healing from sin that seems to flow out of our lives no matter how hard we might try to contain it. That cleansing and healing can only come through the powerful Grace of Jesus Christ. As we approach Him and His holiness that our mere sinful presence should defile, we have the same incredible experience that woman did, Grace. Isaiah 53:5 says, But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. The power of Grace is what allowed her after all those years to finally to be healed and once again clean. The power of Grace is also what allows us to made righteous in God’s sight in spite of our past sinful nature. And that same power of Grace is what enables and allows us to enjoy a wonderful relationship with Jesus, our perfect Lord. Grace does what nothing else can, and desperate faith is what grants us access to that Grace.
Next week my thoughts on a Thursday will look at part two of that woman’s story…“Deux Tell”
So now, desperate to increasing your relationship with Jesus, and taking whatever desperate measures necessary to see that desire become a reality in your life…Go Be Awesome!