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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Invitation to risk

18-19As he finished saying this, a local official appeared, bowed politely, and said, "My daughter has just now died. If you come and touch her, she will live." Jesus got up and went with him, his disciples following along.
 20-22Just then a woman who had hemorrhaged for twelve years slipped in from behind and lightly touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, "If I can just put a finger on his robe, I'll get well." Jesus turned—caught her at it. Then he reassured her: "Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you're well." The woman was well from then on.
(Matthew 9:18-22)

Jesus was on his way to accomplish one healing (that of the dead daughter) when a totally different use of his healing power was called upon (the healing of the woman with the issue of blood).  It is the woman that I wish to focus on this morning.  Not specifically her need, but her faith.

Jesus is amongst a crowd - pressed in on every side by onlookers and those seeking his touch.  Most simply waited for him to notice - in other words, they waited for him to call attention to their need.  This woman did something entirely different from the crowd - she took her need to him - undaunted by the pressure of the crowd.

Jesus commends this woman for her faith - stating that she took "a risk of faith" and that was what made her well.  Risk is something that we "take", not something that is passive.  We see an opportunity and then we respond to that opportunity - we take the risk.  

We are presented with hundreds of "risky" opportunities each and every day.  Think of the last time you attempted to pull your car out into oncoming traffic - that was a risk.  The last time you bought the "bargain brand" of a product at the store was a risk you were willing to take in order to save a little money.  We take "calculated" risks each and every day.  It is the "un-calculated" risk of faith that Jesus is commending here.

This woman did what no other in that crowd did - she moved beyond her fears of rejection, beyond the norms of the day, and touched the hem of his garment.  She seized the opportunity because she believed in the possibility.  That is the reality of faith in action - looking beyond the limitations of the present to see the possibilities of the future when it is in the hand of the Master.

To risk it all means that we expose ourselves to some things that may not be in our "comfort zone".  She was a woman - in those days, to approach a man without being welcomed to do so was unheard of.  She was considered unclean by the issue of her blood - to be in the crowd that day was in violation of every "rule" of the orthodox Jew.  She was desperate - moved by her need, not by her rational thought.

Jesus honors this kind of faith - that which is centered in taking the risk of moving beyond what our minds think impossible to what our spirits believe possible.  The invitation today is to move into "risky" faith - taking steps of certainty toward Jesus with our need.  She pushed through the crowd - there was some resistance to her touching his garment.  What resistance are you facing today?  

Jesus did not need to acknowledge her - he could have allowed the healing to have occurred - simply by the touch of his garment.  Yet, in his love for her, he stopped, turned to her, and specifically presents her with the assurance that what she desperately believed for was an accomplished fact.  Jesus moves beyond our expectations each time we take the steps of "risky" faith.  He is in the business of rewarding this type of committed "exposure".  

What to you need to touch the Master for today?  What is your "issue"?  Take it to him in the same type of "risky" faith - see what he will do with the commitment of your heart to bring the impossible into the very presence of the possible.