• Pastor Bowler

The Touch of Faith

The fifth chapter of Mark is a panorama of power. In it you will find Jesus casting out the demoniac at Decapolis, healing the daughter of the rich man, Jairus, and healing the poor woman with the issue of blood, who had spent all she had on physicians. Jairus was a rich man, at the very top of the social ladder. The poor woman was at the bottom of that social ladder. And Jesus displayed His power to meet the needs of both. Now, if the Saviour could meet the needs of the man at the top of the ladder, and the woman at the bottom of the ladder, then we may safely assume that He can meet the needs of all of us in between.

Let's consider this day of activity in the life of the Son of God. The crowd hurried about Him as He made His way down the road. Some followed Him because they wanted to see a miracle, others out of sheer curiosity, and others just followed the crowd to be a part of it. A crowd always draws a crowd. Still others followed because they loved Him and loved His teachings. As Jesus pressed His way from the little village of Decapolis, a woman came to the outer edge of the throng. She had picked up the trail as the crowd surged past her little home. Others might have been laughing as they moved along, considering this whole thing as a sort of welcome break in the humdrum affairs of life. Not so with her. She had tried everything in an effort to be rid of a terrible disease which blighted her life through the years. She had spent all she had and her condition had not improved. As a matter of fact, she had grown worse over time. Now she saw her last chance. Jesus, she had heard, could cure the disease that physicians could not. He had cleansed the lepers. He had opened the eyes of the blind. And He had unstopped the deaf ears. So this drawn little woman, face pale and deeply etched with the lines of suffering through the years, elbowed her way through the tumultuous throng. With an expression of desperation upon her face she forced her way through the curious crowd.

Then she suddenly found herself in the immediate presence of Jesus. She stooped down in the dust and touched the hem of His seamless robe. And, as she performed this simple act, something wonderful happened to her. There was a strange new rise of strength pulsing in her body. Her face, which had been so drawn and pale, was flushed with the ruddiness of health. And an expression of happy surprise broke forth upon her countenance. This joyous expression faded quickly, though, as Jesus turned around quickly and said, “Who touched my clothes?” The disciples marvelled at this seemingly absurd question. One of them said, “Thou seest the multitudes thronging Thee and sayest Thou, who touched me?” But, as Jesus looked down and saw the woman cringing a bit but obviously rejoicing in her newfound health, He said, “Daughter, thy faith has made thee whole. Go in peace and be whole of thy plague” (Mark 5:34). Yes, the multitude thronged Him, but this woman touched Him. Today millions throng Him. Church members are numbered by the millions. They normally throng Him on Sunday but forget Him through the week. Many throng Him, but how many have actually come into personal contact with Him?

Some skeptic may say, “How could an individual be so miraculously changed simply by touching a piece of cloth?” Well, the Bible does not say that this woman was changed simply by touching a piece of cloth. It was the faith within her, and the grace in Him that caused the transformation. The faith within her and the grace within Him met, and the miracle took place. But the important thing is that, we touch Him personally. Have you touched Him? Or have you just thronged Him? It is the hand of faith that touches Him.

By the hand of faith, we need to touch Him for pardon. We are not only sinners by nature. We are sinners by choice. We are condemned. The greatest need of the condemned man is pardon, and God alone can pardon those who are under spiritual condemnation. The Apostle Paul discovered that religion, law and ritual could not release him from this condemnation of sin. He found that religion by itself, even good religion, could not deliver him from the crushing burden of sin. Then one glad day he met Jesus Christ and touched the hand of God in saving faith and he wrote, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

By the hand of faith, we need to touch Him for peace. Jesus did not come to add to the confusion that was already abroad in the world. He came to bring peace. This Scripture says, “There remaineth a rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9). Yes, tears may dry up, shouting may cease, emotions may come to an end, but there remains a rest for the people of God. Someone asked Gladstone, the great Christian statesman, the secret of his success. He pointed to a motto on the wall which read, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee” (Isaiah 26:3). These days the world is floundering upon the rocks of the international misunderstanding and turbulence. Some nations that stood together in war cannot stand together in peace. National leaders create strife but it is not in their power to bring peace. Only Christ can do this. And if the nations would trust Him and follow Him, there would be more peace among the nations. There is a lot of unrest today. When will this pandemic end? People fear what lies ahead, but Jesus can give us peace in troubled days.

By the hand of faith, we need to touch Him for power. Acts 1:8 tells us, “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” The hearts of the disciples were filled with misunderstandings and bickering and weakness and envying before they touched Jesus for power. Peter was so weak that he denied Jesus when He was going through the trial of Calvary. Peter’s intentions were good, but he could not live up to them. But after he touched Jesus for power and the Holy Spirit had filled his heart, he stood before an audience of people who had nailed Jesus to the cross and fearlessly preached the Gospel with the result that no less than 3,000 people were brought to Christ. What a difference the divine power of the Holy Spirit in the life of Peter made! And what a difference it will make in our lives. We need power, oh how deeply we need it! We need power to witness.

Sometimes we spend time talking to the Lord about our loved ones, and we should. But we should be talking to our loved ones about the Lord as well. We need power to pray. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Prayer meetings have fallen off in many of our churches even before the pandemic. One lady said, “There were so few out at our prayer meeting that when the pastor said, ‘Dearly beloved,’ I was embarrassed!” We are in desperate need of the revival of prayer. We need power also to persevere—to take our stand for the Lord Jesus Christ. Toil and trouble and trial and tribulation will take their toll and make us spiritually weak, unless we have the power of the blessed Holy Spirit to strengthen us, to see us through, and to make us more than conquerors.

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).

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