Both afraid, but they chose different paths

Published 2:09 pm Saturday, June 29, 2024

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By R.A. Mathews

She was afraid.

We know this because when she got caught, she stepped forward trembling with fear. But fear hadn’t stopped her.

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We don’t know what she knew about Jesus, because this moment happened early into His ministry — Jesus hadn’t yet chosen all of His disciples. However, she believed in him so much that she said, “If I can just touch His garments, I will get well.”

The woman had a disease and had spent everything she had on doctors, who had made her worse. So she pushed into the crowd following Jesus, reaching out and touching a piece of clothing, certain this Man could make her well.

Still, she was afraid. Here’s the passage.

“When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him …  A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but instead had become worse—after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. For she had been saying to herself, ‘If I just touch His garments, I will get well.’Â

“And immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that power from Him had gone out, turned around in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched My garments?’…  And He looked around to see the woman who had done this” (Mark 5:21-32).

As I said, this is where we know she was afraid.

“But the woman, fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth” (Mark 5:33).

How did Jesus respond?

“He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be cured of your disease’” (Mark 5:34).

Despite her fear, the woman followed Him.

The depth of your faith matters.

Where had Jesus been? Remember, the passage said that Jesus had crossed back after He had gone to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. This is important,

Perhaps it was a spur of the moment decision, but Jesus had asked his disciples to take the boat across the lake to the land of the Gentiles. Those living in darkness suddenly had the opportunity to see a great Light. Here’s what happened.

“Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. And when He stepped out onto the land, a man from the city met Him who was possessed with demons; and he had not put on clothing for a long time and was not living in a house, but among the tombs …  And Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Legion;’ because many demons had entered him. And they were begging Him not to command them to go away into the abyss.

“Now there was a herd of many pigs feeding there on the mountain; and the demons begged Him to permit them to enter the pigs. And He gave them permission. And the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

“Now when the herdsmen saw what had happened, they ran away and reported everything in the city, and in the country. And the people came out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened. Those who had seen everything reported to them how the man who had been demon-possessed had been made well” (Luke 8:26-36).

It was a crisis for those Gentiles. There’s a Chinese proverb that says, “A crisis is an opportunity to ride a dangerous wind.”Â

The Gentiles only saw the dangerous wind. “And all the people of the territory of the Gerasenes and the surrounding region asked Him to leave them, because they were overwhelmed by great fear; and He got into a boat and returned.” (Luke 8:37)

Those people turned away from the opportunity to see healings and miracles, to learn truth, to know God.

Step out in faith when the opportunity you have waited for arrives, even if you’re afraid. Do everything to be in God’s will, and the Lord will guide you. He wants the best for you.

“Seek and you will find, knock and the door will be open to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

The Rev. Mathews (BA, MDiv, JD) is a newspaper faith columnist and the author of Emerald Coast: The Vendetta. Write to her at (Just one t in Mathews)

Copyright © 2024 R.A. Mathews. All rights reserved.