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From the minister’s study

About 4 years ago I was waiting for a flight to Nepal at Heathrow airport and found myself a space to rest whilst waiting to check in. As airports usually are it was busy and in places crowded but I had my space. Or so I thought. All at once I was surrounded by a family, I think from India, who seemed to have a very different idea about personal space from me. I could barely move & felt uncomfortable at being enclosed in such a way but they appeared to have no problem at all. I suppose I had been used for many years to both living and working alone and much valued having plenty of room to breathe. I still had room to breathe & move a little and the problem was more in my head than in reality.

Why tell you this? We can read in the Bible of occasions when Jesus wanted to escape the crowds and have some ‘me’ time with his Father God or the disciples. Fat chance of that if the crowds spotted him. And it was crowds that ran after him to hear & see more of him. 1000s upon 1000s. People from all walks of life. Professional, military, religious, the ordinary working person. Those who were sick, those who felt lost.

Let me quote this: Mark 5:21-34. When Jesus had gone across by boat to the other side of the lake, a vast crowd gathered around him on the shore. The leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, came and fell down before him, pleading with him to heal his little daughter.
“She is at the point of death,” he said in desperation. “Please come and place your hands on her and make her live.”
Jesus went with him, and the crowd thronged behind.

Many people surrounded Jesus as he made his way toward Jairus’s house. It was virtually impossible to get through the crowd, but one woman fought her way desperately through the crowd in order to touch Jesus. She had suffered for 12 years and spent a small fortune on doctors only to become worse. She had heard all about the miracles that Jesus was doing and thought “If I can just touch his clothing, I will be healed.” As soon as she did so, she was healed.

Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” It isn’t that Jesus didn’t know who it was but wanted the woman to identify herself and to be seen for the faith she had in him. There is a real sense in which we cannot be a secret disciple or follower of Jesus.

What a difference there is between the crowds that are curious about Jesus and the few who reach out and touch him! Today, many people are vaguely familiar with Jesus, but nothing in their lives is changed or bettered by this passing acquaintance. It is only faith that releases God’s healing power. I wonder, are you just curious about God, or do you reach out to him in faith, knowing that his mercy will bring healing to your body, soul, and spirit? And more than that, you can point others in his direction too.

Don’t be content to be an onlooker in the crowd, reach out to Jesus for yourself.

God bless

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