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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Faith is Access (Mark 5:27-28)

"When she had 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."

I rarely use my ATM card, so imagine my frustration when I tried to use it recently but couldn't remember my pin number. Even though the money in the bank account was mine for the taking I couldn't do so without my pin number. (Who in the world can remember all of the pin numbers and passwords we need just to access our bank accounts, computers, Facebook, and Blogger accounts?) Faith is like pin numbers and access codes which grant entrance to something otherwise closed off.

Stories abound in the Bible about men and women who trusted in the Lord and were helped. Faith in God gave them access to something they were otherwise excluded from. Rahab heard about the Israelites for 40 years, as did all the inhabitants of Jericho. When the spies showed up on her doorstep that day she seized the opportunity to express her faith in the Living God and was rewarded for doing so. Although the citizens of Jericho had heard exactly the same things as did Rahab, her hearing was mixed with faith (Hebrews 4:2), and that kind of faith activity receives from God. Faith in God rewarded her and her whole family with salvation while everyone else perished.

This sickly woman in today's reading had heard how others had been healed by Christ. Energized she reaches out and touches His garment. And is healed. Faith is access. Healing power resided in Jesus' physical body and personal faith accessed personal healing.

Paul mentions this idea of faith is access three times in his epistles:
  • Romans 5:2 - Believers enter the grace relationship with Christ by faith, "through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand."
  • Ephesians 2:18 - Believers "have access by one Spirit to the Father" through faith in Christ.
  • Ephesians 3:12 - Believers have "boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him."
What distinguishes some hearers from others? They dare to believe that God can and will act on their behalf. Faith is the audacity to "haul off and trust God." Need grace? Power? Forgiveness? Boldness? Haul off and trust God about something today!

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading
Mark 5:21-43; Matthew 9:18-26; Luke 8:40-56
  • How do Jairus and the woman differ from one another and what do they both share in common?
  • Why can't faith expressed in Jesus Christ ever be a private matter?
  • How do you think Jairus felt about the woman's interruption, especially after he heard that it was too late for his daughter?
  • How does the noisy crowd respond to Jesus' assessment of the situation?
  • What does this tell you about people in general?
Matthew 9:27-34
  • Why does Jesus heal the blind men?
  • How does the way the crowd responds to the demonic deliverance differ from that of the Pharisees? What does this tell you about legalistic people?
Mark 6:1-6a; Matthew 13:53-58
  • How do those closest to Jesus respond to his wisdom?
  • What prohibited Jesus from doing miracles in their midst?
John 5:1-15
  • What does Jesus ask the man who has been paralyzed for thirty-eight years?
  • What kind of lifestyle changes would be required of the man after being healed?
Turning truth into prayer
God responds to faith. Ask the Lord to show you where you are walking in unbelief. Think also about the result of prayers you pray. Should the Lord answer those prayers what changes would be required of you?