Pressing In

Isn’t it interesting to watch a child try to get what it wants?  Well, yes I agree it can sometimes be so irritating too!  A child will try different tactics to get its way and more often than not – rightly or wrongly – it sure does achieve its goal.

In the Bible, we read of people pressing into Jesus to get what they want – physical healing or spiritual healing or emotional healing… pressing into make them whole.  We read of the woman with the bleeding problem for so many years quickly trying to touch the robe of Jesus.  She pressed in through the crowd and perhaps thought she could get away unnoticed as she was classified an ‘untouchable’.  What courage took over her simply because of her faith.

We read in the Gospels the two different scenarios of the women anointing the feet or head of Jesus with expensive perfume.  In Luke 7, the woman is clearly stipulated to be a sinner.  In the culture of the time, the men would ‘recline’ at the table, not “sit” at the table.  i.e. their heads would be propped up with one hand while they ate with the other.  Their bodily posture would be lying down along a recliner.

If the tables had been turned (literally), and it was you in this scenario instead of Jesus, reclining at the table, and a sinful woman namely a prostitute wiped your feet with her hair, how would you have responded?

Mind you, this was in a setting where men and women didn’t interact… Men had different entertaining areas from the women.  In fact, this was a setting where the Jewish men would recite in their daily prayers thanking God for not having created them a Samaritan, a woman or a dog!  So you can see the social standing of a woman full stop.  Then there was the taboo of a sinner – outcast, banished!

Would you have been tempted to shrug your feet so that the woman had to pull away and run away in embarrassment?  Wouldn’t the reclining posture make it easy to do just that?

The best part is Jesus could have easily done that, but He didn’t!  It didn’t matter to Him that people would talk – and they did.   The Pharisee (had be right!) spoke to himself that if Jesus was indeed a prophet, He wouldn’t entertain this woman.  In fact, I wonder how many even wondered whether Jesus was having a ‘thing’ with this woman for her to come boldly into this setting!

Now, put yourself in the woman’s shoes!  How many of us would have had such courage to do this?  Would you be humble enough to show up to a feast where you have not been invited, to a place where women aren’t welcome and that in a society where you are outcast?  This woman’s heart must have been so broken, desiring craving for forgiveness, for healing that she pressed in… and ran to His feet and sacrificed something that was so precious to her.  Jesus not only didn’t reject her but instead spoke up for her.

Often women who are victims of abuse (sexual, physical, emotional…) turn to a ‘safe’ family to help them heal from their mistrust in men.  They yearn to see positive role models.  However, in an attempt to “protect” their own family, married couples often push these women away thinking they will destroy their family either by seduction or be a source of temptation.  In addition to this, yet another possible reason is to maintain their ‘names’ in society so that no one will blame them.  So reasons pop up as to why they cannot be helped – which all concerned know wouldn’t have been the same scenario if the person in question had been part of the family they are trying to protect.  This leaves the hurting women to believe that they have to defend and protect themselves.  It further drives into them the message or rather lie that they are worthless objects… not meant for healthy relationships or good for nothing.

However, Jesus sets the stage differently.  He couldn’t care less about what other people think of Him… All He cares for is people – He sees each person as just that – a PERSON, regardless of gender, ethnicity, social status, caste, age, reputation… He sees them as special and unique, created in the image and likeness of God… He sees them as God’s children who are precious to the extent that He Himself came to earth to shed His blood for them…  And when I talk about them, I’m talking about you and me too.

It doesn’t matter what you were like yesterday… Where your heart is today is what matters, what counts!  God is looking for broken hearts that are reaching out to Him… that will press in no matter what… Will you have the courage of the women mentioned above who pressed into Jesus to become whole again?  Keep pressing into Him, our precious Bridegroom.. He will take your hand!  It doesn’t matter what people say about you, what they think of you, how they treat you.. What matters is how our Heavenly Father sees us and if our hearts are willing and surrendered to receive His love.

Yes another person’s worth doesn’t depend on how we treat them.  The love of our Heavenly Father is unconditional and is mind blowing… while we are of the flesh and with limitations.

Having said that Jesus clearly tells us that is it for our love for one another that shows that we are His disciples… It isn’t about how many sermons we preached or how many demons we drove out or how many souls we reached or how many miracles we performed.  It is about relationship.  Jesus makes it clear that all the laws and commandments are summed up into the two greatest commandments – relationship centred.  If we are filled with the Father’s love it will indeed flow through to those around us.  Jesus was never bound by time or tasks but rather He was relationship centred, driven by the Father’s love.  Our Heavenly Father will hold us accountable for our actions as He sees beyond our appearances… He sees our hearts and motives.  We need to encourage people to press in – not deter them by the witness we bear as Ambassadors of Christ.

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