Monday, January 24, 2005

Why follow?

Read Mark 5:21-43

Is it fear? Is it belief? What is it that urges you to follow Jesus?

I am embarassed to admit that for a certain part of my life it was fear. I know now that my primary motivation for becoming a member of the church when I was 14 was because I was afraid that I would die and go to hell if I didn't. While I can look back and laugh (now!), back then it was the motivation.

He had every reason to believe. A learned man, a respected man, a leader of the religious community. Someone who had grown up steeped in the Torah, one who knew the promises of God that had been made to his grandparents in the faith, who had memorized the prophets' words about the Messiah who would usher in God's steadfast love. Yet, I can only imagine the fear Jairus must have had as he approched the One his co-leaders were plotting against, to beg (however many times it took) for his daughter's life.

She had every reason to fear. After years of going from doctor to doctor, of enduring treatment after treatment that did nothing, after taking nostrum after nostrum that does not work, after hearing answers that never satisfy, why should she hope that this man walking by on an important mission to Jairus' house could do anything for her? Yet, I can only imagine the courage she must have had to reach out and simply touch the sleeve of his coat, trusting that somehow, in some way, healing would come.

"Do not fear, only believe" is what Jesus tells Jairus when he thinks all his hope has floated away with his daughter's last breath. If someone can believe only on what they have heard, trust what you have seen with your own eyes.

Prayer: Too often it is our fears, the doubts of others, the comments of our friends and neighbors which guide how we live and act, Healing God. We have heard what Jesus can do for us and through us; help us to believe what we have heard. Amen.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

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