Saturday, June 22, 2013

Biblical manhood 3--Taking Hold of Christ

My Biblical Manhood reading yesterday morning had me read about a woman whose faith I would like to emulate. It is centered smack dab in the middle of a bigger healing story, but the one about the woman is more amazing by far in my opinion. Luke 8:41-48 tells the story.
Just then, a man named Jairus came. He was a leader of the synagogue. He fell down at Jesus’ feet and pleaded with Him to come to his house, because he had an only daughter about 12 years old, and she was at death’s door. While He was going, the crowds were nearly crushing Him. A woman suffering from bleeding for 12 years, who had spent all she had on doctors yet could not be healed by any, approached from behind and touched the tassel of His robe. Instantly her bleeding stopped. “Who touched Me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds are hemming You in and pressing against You.” “Someone did touch Me,” said Jesus. “I know that power has gone out from Me.” When the woman saw that she was discovered, she came trembling and fell down before Him. In the presence of all the people, she declared the reason she had touched Him and how she was instantly cured. “Daughter,” He said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
It goes on to tell of Jesus healing Jairus’s daughter as well, but the focus is on the bleeding woman in this post.
Biblical men want nothing less than to take hold of Christ and the power He has. In the passage, it was a woman, but still. Taking hold of Christ is a necessary thing sometimes, like Jacob in Genesis 32:24-32.
Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that He could not defeat him, He struck Jacob’s hip socket as they wrestled and dislocated his hip. Then He said to Jacob, “Let Me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me.” “What is your name?” the man asked. “Jacob,” he replied. “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” He said. “It will be Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked Him, “Please tell me Your name.” But He answered, “Why do you ask My name?” And He blessed him there. Jacob then named the place Peniel, “For I have seen God face to face, and I have been delivered.” The sun shone on him as he passed by Penuel—limping because of his hip. That is why, to this day, the Israelites don’t eat the thigh muscle that is at the hip socket: because He struck Jacob’s hip socket at the thigh muscle.
This passage is very important to compare with the one of the woman, and I will get back to that in a couple sentences. The first thing to notice about Jacob is that He persisted in wrestling with God (vs. 25). Second, Jacob asked for a blessing before letting go (vs. 26). Third, Jacob wanted to know God more intimately (vs. 29).
This parallels the story of the woman who touched Jesus. First, she persisted in trying to solve her bleeding problem, turning to Christ as a last resort (Luke 8:43). Second, she was blessed by Christ (vs. 44). Third, she came to know Him more intimately (vs. 48).
This is amazing to think about. So often we waste all our time, money, and emotions trying to buy happiness, when in reality it’s only found in Christ. Learning this sooner, rather than later, will save tons of heartache.
Christ will bless us if we take hold of Him. Maybe not in a physical or monetary sense, but definitely in a spiritual—our greatest need—sense. The bleeding woman was healed because she took hold of Him. Her healing was not only physical, but also spiritual. If it had only been spiritual, she wouldn’t have been healed and we wouldn’t be aware that Jesus can forgive sins (Luke 5:23-24). She was healed of her greatest physical need and her greatest spiritual need at the same exact time.
If we take hold of Christ we come to know Him more intimately. The words Jesus said to the woman are amazing, “‘Daughter,’ He said to her, ‘your faith has made you well. Go in peace’” (vs. 48). He called her daughter, because she had been saved by His grace and was now a child of God. Talk about intimate. I want to hear Christ say, “Son, your faith has cured your sin. Go in peace.” Peace there is a wonderful phrase. When you’ve been saved by Christ, “the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). It makes no sense even to us. It surpasses every thought or notion we have of it. The interesting thing here is the verse immediately prior goes back to wrestling with God—taking hold of Him—in prayer. This peace that will guard us is the result of it. “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (4:6).
We need to wrestle with God and take hold of Christ every day. In every temptation. In every blessing. In every trial. Take hold of Christ. And pray!
Do I take hold of Christ? How can I improve?
God, thank You for allowing me to take hold of You. I pray You help me not let go as easily in the future as I have in the recent past. I love You and want to honor You.