People in the New Testament didn’t have the books in hand to read of all the miracles Jesus performed. They had him face to face. These stories in Luke 8:26-56 tell of Jesus healing. In one story, no crowds come out to meet him–just one naked, homeless man who lived in a cemetery. Metaphors color the page, and his need translates to vulnerability, wander, life among the dead. It was then I could relate.
The townspeople flock to the scene at the news of what happened, and they see this formerly possessed man clothed, sane, at Jesus’ side. They were afraid. (It makes me think of anytime someone changes–diet, sobriety, following Christ–it makes those around them uneasy, if not resentful.) They begged Jesus to go. Jesus got back in the boat and left.
A contrast to the following story where crowds greet Jesus. He is surrounded by so many people that when one touches the hem of his robe, he asks who did it.
47 When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. 48 “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Luke 8:47-48 (NLT).
I see courage, fear, and the undeniable life-changing mark of Christ in these stories.
Courage of a lone man in his depravity to walk out, quite literally exposed, to meet Jesus. When townspeople went about their day-to-day in their own wandering and life among the dead, this one man approaches. Courage of a woman whose faith propelled her to reach out to the Lord and touch him–her life changed, healed.
Fear in a town at the transforming power of a stranger, a shaking up of status quo–they wanted no part. Fear in this woman, who could boldly reach out for healing, but hid back before a crowd until she couldn’t stay quiet any longer.
Jesus accompanies Jairus home to where his young daughter lay dying. Jesus tells him, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.”
53 But the crowd laughed at him because they all knew she had died. (Luke 8:53 NLT)
Quick to write someone off as dead (unchangeable, a lost cause). To laugh at a Savior and deny Him His power over a life. If faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain, it can transform a life in an instant–because He is mighty to save.