Thursday (January 23): All pressed upon Jesus
Scripture: Mark 3:7-12
7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed; also from Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idume'a and from beyond the Jordan and from about Tyre and Sidon a great multitude, hearing all that he did, came to him. 9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they should crush him; 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits beheld him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God." 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.
Meditation: Is there anything holding you back from giving yourself to God without fear or reservation? Jesus offered freedom to everyone who sought him out. Wherever Jesus went the people came to him because they had heard about all the wonderful deeds and miracles which he performed. They were hungry for God and desired healing from their afflictions. In faith they pressed upon Jesus to touch him. As they did so power came from Jesus and they were healed. Do you seek to lay hold of Jesus' presence in your life that he may touch and heal you?
Augustine of Hippo remarked:
It is by faith that we touch Jesus. And far better to touch him by faith than to touch or handle him with the hands only and not by faith. It was no great thing to merely touch him manually. Even his oppressors doubtless touched him when they apprehended him, bound him, and crucified him, but by their ill-motivated touch they lost precisely what they were laying hold of. O worldwide church! It is by touching him faithfully that your “faith has made you whole.” (SERMONS, ON EASTER 148)
Why did Jesus perform so many countless miracles and signs during his earthly ministry? Cyril of Alexandria ( ) wrote that these signs and miracles showed that Jesus was truly God - the eternal Word who was made flesh for our salvation:
[Jesus] performed very many wonderful miracles, rebuking demons, delivering from incurable diseases whoever drew near to him, and displaying his own most divine power. He did these works so that both the Jews, who had run together to him, and those from the country of the Greeks might know that Christ was not some ordinary man of those in our degree but, on the contrary, God. He honored these chosen disciples with the dignity of the apostolate. He was the Word that was made man but retained nevertheless his own glory. “For power went forth from him and healed all.” Christ did not borrow strength from some other person, but being himself God by nature, even though he had become flesh, he healed them all, by the demonstration of power over the sick. (COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 25)Why did the demons tremble in the presence of Jesus (Mark 3:11)? They recognized that his power and authority came from heaven and not from earth. But while they confessed Christ and trembled in his presence, they did not respond in love.
When you read God's word and consider all that Jesus said and did, how do you respond? With indifference, hesitation, or skepticism, or with expectant faith and willing obedience? Ask the Lord Jesus to draw you to himself with increasing faith, fervent love, and eager readiness to do his will.
"Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Inflame my heart with a burning love for you and with an expectant faith in your saving power. Set me free from all that hinders me from drawing closer to you."
Psalm 56:2-3, 9-14
2 My enemies trample upon me all day long, for many fight against me
3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
9 Then my enemies will be turned back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me.
10 In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise,
11 in God I trust without a fear. What can man do to me?
12 My vows to you I must perform, O God; I will render thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.