Mark 5:24b-29 (NIV)
A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
Today we celebrated Holy Communion. It is a sacrament that we observe monthly at the Second Baptist Church. But why do we do it? Maybe because it's on the church schedule. Maybe because we've always done it. Maybe because Jesus said to. But, as we learned today, there is power and purpose in this sacrament that we don't always think about. As we learned today, Communion is about making contact with Jesus.
The scripture chosen for the day was from the book of Mark. The portion that is printed above tells about a short encounter that Jesus had with a sick woman. I would encourage you to read more of the passage to get a sense of what was happening around this event, but for this post we will focus on this unnamed woman.
She is isolated. She has had an illness which caused her to bleed for the last 12 years. She is worn out from loss of blood. She is destitute because she has spent all of her money for doctors who were unable to help her. And she is unable to be in public because she is considered physically and spiritually unclean. She is isolated from her family, her friends, and a solution. Many of you have been in this place. Your world gets smaller and smaller, until you are hemmed in by barriers on all side. This woman was surrounded by the boundaries of illness, prejudice, and man-made religious laws. But she found a way out.
This woman found Jesus Christ. She didn't want to be recognized, she just wanted to touch Jesus. in fact, she was content to touch only his clothes! But when she did, something miraculous happened. Somehow, with all of the people crowding around him and jostling him on all sides, he knew that she was there. He recognized her touch as a touch of faith, and she was healed. Faith in Jesus can break down the barriers that surround us. He can bring healing to our body, mind, spirit, and soul in ways nobody else can.
So what does all of this have to do with the sacrament of Communion? When we come to the Communion table, we come in faith. We believe that the common foods bread and wine have a spiritual meaning. We believe that Jesus offered up his own body to be broken, and his own blood to be spilled, as a sacrifice for us. His offering of himself made it possible for us to have a way back to God.
In John 8:32 Jesus said "you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” We are beloved children of the Most High God. We are free creatures, not animals in cages. Jesus also said “I am the way and the truth and the life" (John 14:6). By making contact with Jesus, we can begin to enjoy the life that our Heavenly Father meant for us to have. Let Jesus touch you today. You can reach him whether you're by yourself or in a crowd of people. Just reach out. Call his name. He is ready to heal you. He is ready to change your perspective. To show you the way around the barriers that life has put in your way. To let you escape the boundaries that are holding you in isolation. It is never too late for his touch to make a difference in your life.