On Friday evening, March 16, Dr. Boaz Johnson of North Park University will lead us in a celebration of the Seder. Traditionally this is a meal shared by every Jewish family on the evening of Passover. While we will not be dining together, we will be learning about this celebration and taking part in the ritual aspects of it. All are welcome to this family event, so join us from 7-9pm. Sign up here or click the picture to the left to reserve your seats.
It has always confused and amazed me that Jesus’ power was such that even touching something that He touched brought healing. Here, we see that the sick can touch the edge of Jesus’ cloak and be healed. This changes the way we think of Jesus’ healing and miracles in general.
We generally consider Jesus’ miracles to be intentional and pointed. He feeds the 5000 because of His compassion on the crowds, the very same crowds who block and hide Him from those in need of His care in other instances. He calms the storm to calm His disciples’ fear. But here, like with the woman with the flow of blood, Jesus doesn’t even seem to realize He’s healing people. It is simply the touch of the cloak He’s wearing that heals them.
We are Jesus’ cloak. Having been touched by Jesus ourselves, we therefore bear His Spirit and power and bring healing to others. We know that what we accomplish for God is not from our own power. We can’t affect people through our sermons, or make them believe by sharing our testimonies. It is only the power of Jesus through His Holy Spirit that makes these things effective for the Kingdom. Otherwise, they will bring praise and glory to us, not to God.
One of the hardest things we can do when it comes to trusting God is to let go of a situation that we are truly passionate about. To be able to sit back and trust God to handle the problems of this world and of our lives is even more hard in a society like ours that tells you to go out there and get what you want, to work hard, to achieve and accomplish. In fact, we are often told that it is God who is driving us to do more and try harder, only then to feel like a failure when we know we could do more and try even harder yet.
Moses is confronted by a huge group of leaders of the people who seek a vote of no-confidence. They lie about their situation, put undo blame on him, and call his motives into question. But Moses doesn’t argue or dispute their claims. He simply lets God do what God will do. And in the great test, God proves faithful to His servant Moses, even to the point of Moses having to come to the aid of the very community that is grumbling against him.
Have you ever faced a situation where either you could try to fight your battle or you could sit back and let God do what God might do? Which choice did you make? You see the danger of letting God be God is that often God’s outcomes are not the ones we’ve fought for. But they are God’s and if that is truly what we seek, then we should be content with those outcomes, even if they go against our own desire for achievement, accomplishment, and victory.
This is one of the most intriguing passages in all of scripture for me. God’s faithfulness to His people, the faith of the leadership of Israel, and the faithlessness of the people are all held in strong counterpoint to one another. After all this time, beginning with Jacob coming to Joseph in Egypt, or maybe even with God’s promise to Abraham in Gen. 11, God’s people are finally going to take possession of God’s land. All they have to do is trust Him. The God who brought miraculous plagues on their enemies in Egypt, who passed over them but killed the firstborn of the Egyptians, who parted the Red Sea, who led them with a pillar of cloud and fire, who gave them manna, water, and quail, this God who was so very active in their lives had more than earned their trust. And all they had to do was trust that He would keep doing what He had been doing all this time.
But they couldn’t. It’s amazing to me that when you put “but” in a sentence, the whole direction of the sentence changes. “All they had to do was trust God, but…” We see it in the report of the spies: “This land is amazing – all that God promised it would be – but…” From a report of God’s faithfulness, it became a report of their faithlessness. “We can’t attack those people! They are giants with walls and strength far beyond ours.” And so the faithful spies, Joshua and Caleb, use the same tactic. “Yes, the people are huge and have walls, but… God is faithful and will strengthen us.”
I wonder what God might have done to these people had His people been faithful. Plagues and miracles? Power and strategy? New leaders with insights into war that hadn’t been seen before? I guess we’ll never know.
And so God comes to the discussion with his own “but”. “These people are faithless after all I’ve done so I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but… through Moses I will raise up a new people for myself as I did through Abraham.” And Moses reminds God of His faithfulness and mercy, and God relents, but refuses to allow the faithless to see the Promised Land. Because of them, they wander for 40 years, “one year for every day they explored the country”, and die in the desert as they had requested.
What might God do in our lives if we are only faithful?
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