Faith Among Thorns
(The following is a repost from the blog of The Door Church)
Take heart, daughter, your faith has made you well. (Matthew 9:22)
Jesus was constantly mobbed by crowds. As his ministry grew, people swarmed to him like kids to a summer ice cream truck. But he offered more than ice cream. Some wanted healing, some wanted to meet the man the buzz was about, and some wanted to meet Jesus himself due to some desire they could not explain.
From land to boats and back to land, Jesus is hunted – both by seekers of him and those who sought to destroy him. As he walks from town to town, his disciples trip each other and quarrel behind him and constantly ask him questions. The world starts to see his power and they can’t get enough of him.
Were people drawn to Jesus simply because he was an effective healer? Well yes, he was that. He cleansed lepers and raised people from the dead. That is not your garden variety prophet, though some called him a prophet. And healing ailments in a time where modern medicine was centuries away was surely novel. But think of it today – we have the best doctors in the history of mankind walking the halls of our hospitals. They can help push back the growth of cancer, give you a new heart, or keep your premature baby alive. These men and women are miracle workers, the instruments of God. Yet they can walk to their car in the parking garage with no problem, no crowds pushing in as they try to squeeze through their car door.
Jesus was different. And he still is. There is something about him that makes you love him or hate him. He isn’t lukewarm, and he isn’t palatable for all. As C.S. Lewis said, Jesus is a liar, a lunatic, or he is Lord.
When Jesus healed, faith was required. Faith not in that he would heal – though that mattered, but faith in him. The strength here doesn’t lie in someone’s faithfulness, but rather in the person in which they hope. Here is what I mean. The bleeding woman sought the hem of Jesus’ garment because she was at rock bottom, out of options, and she believed Jesus to be mighty and capable to heal. She believed Jesus to be so strong that a touch of his clothing would heal her. And he did.
Too often I tame Jesus or look past him. Or I treat him like an insurance agent. I have my hell insurance with him, so when it’s time for a policy renewal we’ll trade emails and move on with our day. This is not only foolish, it’s treacherous. The truth is Jesus doesn’t fit that category and thus I have cooked up a false Jesus when I treat him like this. He’s a liar, lunatic, or Lord.
But I know exactly who Jesus is. It’s just that the tide of my life sends me out from him when I don’t swim towards him. Remember the Parable of the Sower? There’s a guy walking around casting seeds. Some seeds hit rock, while others get eaten by birds, and some reach good soil. Some seeds were choked out by thorns, which Jesus goes on to explain represent the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches.
We live among thorns.
In our time of prosperity, we obsess over first world problems. Thorns. We build up an image of who we want others to think we are. Thorns. We fret over our 401K. Thorns. We focus on work as the socially accepted vehicle for self-promotion. Thorns. We think the cleanliness of our house is sacred. Thorns.
I want the faith of the bleeding woman. I want to remember with each sunrise that I am purchased with a steep and precious price, that Jesus paid it all for me and that he isn’t just a lamb, he is a lion. And thus, I want to touch his garment with expectant faith whenever and wherever I can: through his Word, through my church family, in prayer, in nature, and everywhere in this momentary life he’s given me.
Photo credit: bekassine via Flickr