April 18, Saturday

UPDATED Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought is an updated version of AMI QT Devotional first posted on August 31, 2013.

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Living by Faith, not by Sight”

Luke 8:40-48: Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. 41 And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house, 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying.  As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. 43 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. 45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

sylvie-tittel-JLav38piYSg-unsplashAmid social distancing necessitated by COVID-19, touching someone without consent is sure to raise the ire of the person touched. And it’s not inconceivable to imagine the offended person calling for the police. It was no less scandalous or offensive in the days of Jesus in situations where a person deemed unclean (e.g., lepers or women suffering from hemophilia) touched clean people, thereby making them unclean.

With that said, on this day, many people were touching Jesus—given that “the crowds almost crushed him” (v. 42b)—but there was one touch, by the bleeding woman, that did not go unnoticed by Jesus. The woman must have felt elated since she got healed immediately because the power of Jesus was released when she touched him (v. 46).  But that happiness was short lived when Jesus began to look for the person who touched him. At first, it appeared as if Jesus was upset (he had his reasons), but she quickly discovered that Jesus wanted to commend her.  For what?  This is to ask, how was the touch of this woman different from that of others?  In short, she touched Jesus in faith.

Allow me to put it this way: The Bible “forces” us to touch Jesus in faith; all other touches will never suffice.  For instance, the Lord, after resurrecting, told Mary Magdalene that, after he ascended into heaven, she could no longer relate to him “by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7), which she had been doing for three and a half years.  Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father . . . I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17).

Then how was Mary supposed to relate to Jesus?  How are we to connect with Jesus who is in heaven?  It is by faith, not by sight that we are to relate to Jesus, for the Lord said to doubting Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). The woman in today’s passage touched Jesus with faith, and this act stood out as being radically different from the faith (or lack thereof) of the rest of the crowd.

Even though Jesus is not here with us on earth, do you still reach out to him in faith like the woman who touched Jesus? Is he real to you?  He can be, since we have been given the Holy Spirit. How?  Read his words, be reminded of his promises and develop an intimate prayer life.  We live by faith, not by sight.

Prayer: Lord, please make yourself real in my life.  Lord, help me to make you real in my life.  Lord, help me to develop a deeper walk with you.  Help me to discern what things to get rid of in my life in order to spend more time with you.  Lord, help me to live by faith, not by sight.  Amen.   

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 19-20

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