Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Following Jesus

Just then a woman who had been subject to
bleeding for twelve years came up behind him
and touched the edge of his cloak.
                                       Matthew 9:20  NIV 

     I have long been fascinated by the Biblical accounts of Jesus and His interaction with ordinary people. I wonder about the back story and those whose lives were changed because of the one life changed by Jesus. Below is my fictional account of something that might have happened as the “woman with the issue of blood” found in Matthew 9:18-26 encountered our Living Lord. Who is watching you as you follow Christ?

Following Jesus

     I leaned against the city wall watching people pass through the marketplace. A pale, fragile woman caught my attention as she followed a man—a stranger to me. Before long, I lost track of her as a crowd formed around this stranger. When he stopped walking, a hush fell over the people. I could hear his voice but could not understand his words. So, I too followed from a distance; hoping to discover his name and mission.

     Although I wanted to hear this man for myself, I continued to focus on the woman who first caught my attention. Now, on the outer edge of the crowd, she appeared desperate to get closer to this man. Frail and falling farther and farther behind as others kept pushing her out of the way, I felt sorry for her. Perhaps if I could get to her I could assist in some way. But moment by moment the crowd grew larger, and it appeared my attempts to reach her were futile.

     I found myself focusing on her and not him. I was afraid for her; afraid she may be trampled by the throng. As she inched her way towards him I inched my way towards her. Finally she pressed in and, almost face to face with him, she stumbled. Just as I drew close enough to reach out and touch her, she reached out and touched him. What happened next can only be called a miracle. I saw it with my own eyes and even then I found it hard to believe.

     The moment her hand touched his garment, well—the only way I can explain it is that she looked like a young woman. Her pallid face turned pink. The anguish in her eyes disappeared, the kind that comes from years of pain and heartache, and I watched in disbelief as she stood straight and tall. This happened in a split second. Then the stranger turned and said, “Who touched me?” The answers reverberated throughout the sea of people. Not me! Not me!

     A man, that I later learned was called Peter and a follower of this person that I could now hear the crowd calling Jesus, said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me. I know that power has gone out from me.”

     The woman fell down at the feet of this man Jesus. She was trembling and with the crowd listening she told her story. “Sir,” she said, “for twelve years my body has been bleeding. I have been to every doctor I could find, but no one, no medicine, the hand of no man could heal me. I have heard the stories of your healing power; causing the lame to walk, the blind to see, and the dead to live again, and I thought sir if only I could get close enough to touch you, perhaps just maybe I could be healed. I’m happy to say, Lord, it worked! I could feel it! When I touched you, I could feel it, your healing power flowing through my body.”

     The crowd grew silent. As I stood watching this incredible turn of events, I wondered what this man Jesus would do next. He looked at her and said, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”I felt his glance in my direction. I believed he was speaking to me as well. Calm overcame me. I waited in vain for more. Go in peace. She was healed, after years of trying everything she knew to do and finding nothing that worked—healed when she reached out and touched the garment of this man Jesus.

     Shocked and amazed and intrigued, I took my eyes off this woman and began to focus on Jesus. He spoke with authority and wisdom and as we walked along the streets I found myself more and more drawn to him. Eventually he left the crowd and went to the home of Jarius, the ruler of the synagogue.

     I later heard that he had raised the daughter of Jarius from the dead. I also heard that he fed 5000 men and their families with five loaves of bread and two fish from a little boy’s lunch. Those who were there say that some of his followers collected baskets full of food after everyone finished eating. I heard he healed a boy possessed by a demon, and a crippled woman and I knew it was all true for I too had seen his power.

     I never again saw the woman that I had followed to Jesus on that day. I never learned her name. All I know is that she led me to him, and for that I will be forever grateful. Many more have become followers since that day. Spreading rumors claim that the leaders of the Jews are conspiring against Jesus. I’ve also heard whispers that some of them are themselves secret followers; believers like me.

     Who knows where this will end. All I know is that my encounter with Jesus changed my life forever. I now have peace in my most inner being, and I’ve found the true meaning of love and life. Everywhere I go I tell the story of that first encounter. Some believe. Some do not. Some even laugh. That’s okay. I’ll keep telling, because I know it is true. I know He changes lives. He changed mine. I know he is Jesus, the One and Only—Messiah! 

© Joyce Powell

No comments:

Post a Comment