Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Mar 30 2013 - Luke 8:40-9:6 – Inexhaustible power

Jesus was on his way to the house of Jairus, a leader of the synagogue, to heal his daughter who was dying. Crowds surrounded Jesus and swarmed along with him. Among the crowd was a woman who had suffered with bleeding for twelve years. She had spent all that she had on doctors but none had been able to heal her. She remained "unclean" and unable to participate fully in society. She worked her way through the crowd until she was immediately behind Jesus. Then she touched the edge of his robe, and instantly she was healed. Jesus felt the power go out of him to heal this woman and asked, "Who touched me?" (Luke 8:45). The woman fell at Jesus' feet and told him her story. Jesus told her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace" (8:48). She can go in peace; untroubled by the guilt of having done some secret thing. She can go enjoying Shalom – wholeness within herself, with her society and with God.

Imagine the change in the life of this woman – the things she was now able to do that she could not do before; the places she was now able to go where she had not been able to go before. She would have experienced a wonderful sense of freedom – of new life. And imagine the difference it made also to those who knew her. They needed no longer fear that contact with her would make them unclean. They could visit her and talk with her and share in the freedom that she had come to enjoy. Just a touch of the hem of Jesus' garment had done for her what all the skill of others and all her own resources could not accomplish; it had made her whole.

Faith is the hand that simply reaches out to touch the Saviour. Faith believes that he can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves and that no-one else can do for us; he can make us whole; he can make us again the people we were created to be; he is our Shalom – our peace.

And what I also find wonderful about this passage is that although Jesus felt power go out of him, there is no diminishing of the power left within him. When messengers come from Jairus’ house to tell him that his daughter has died, Jesus did not apologise that his power had left him and he can do nothing. He entered the ruler’s house and, with a word of command, raised the girl from the dead. Nor is this a power he feels that he must keep to himself for fear that sharing it might dilute it. Immediately after this incident, Luke records that Jesus gave power to his disciples that they might heal the sick and push back the boundaries of the kingdom of darkness.

Before his ascension into heaven, Jesus told his disciples that he possessed “all power in heaven and in earth”. There is no limit to his power. And because he possesses all power, he commands his disciples to bring the whole world under his authority – to make disciples of all nations. It’s a daunting task that seems quite beyond our power. And so it is. But it’s not beyond his power. And the hand that touches his robe draws on his inexhaustible power.

Lord Jesus Christ, I am glad that you possess all power in heaven and on earth. Power could not be in better hands. Help me Lord to stay close to you that I may know your power at work in my own life. Remove all that is unclean within me and give me the freedom that comes from a life made whole and new. Enable me also so to serve you in the power of your Spirit that the lives of those around me might be drawn into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

Mar 30 2019 - Joshua 4:1-24 – Memorial stones

God commanded that Joshua choose twelve strong men from among the Israelites, one from each of the twelve tribes, to carry stones from the bed of the Jordan. They were to go to the point where the priests were standing with the ark in the middle of the dry river bed and each was to lift a stone from the area in front of the priests and carry it on his shoulders. The stones were to be carried all the way to Gilgal, the place where Israel was to camp that night.

Once the stones had been recovered, the priests with the ark completed their crossing of the Jordan. As soon as their feet were safely on the other side, the waters of the Jordan again began to flow with all their flood force.

From the twelve stones that had been set down beside the camp of Israel in Gilgal, Joshua constructed a monument. This was to stand as a memorial to what God had done. When future generations – children or adults – asked why these stones were piled up there, they would be told that they were stones from the middle of the Jordan. They stand in this place as a reminder of how God had dried up the Jordan to enable Israel to enter the Promised Land just as he had dried up the water of the Red Sea to enable them to escape from Egypt.

Memorials play an important role in society. In most towns and many villages in this country there are war memorials, standing as a witness to those who were killed in the Great War of 1914-18. They remind each new generation of the sacrifice of the lives of many of a past generation. The memorial prompts us to remember them and what was accomplished through them.

Jesus has given us a memorial of his sacrifice for us. It is not a memorial of stone but of bread and wine. It is not a memorial confined to a particular place, nor is it to be commemorated on a single day in the calendar. Whenever his followers eat bread and drink wine together they are to remember that Jesus died for them and is raised for them and is coming for them. We are to remember what God has done for us in Christ and to teach each new generation the meaning of his sacrifice – the greatest of all God’s saving acts.

Nor were the lessons of this memorial solely for the people of God. Joshua instructed the Israelites, "The Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God" (vv.23-24). We are not only to remember what God has done in Christ for our own encouragement, we are to let everyone on earth know what God has done for their salvation.

Father God, thank you for Jesus. Thank you for his dying love and risen power. Thank you for the promise of his coming to restore all things. Help me never to forget what you have done for us in him. May the praise of my lips and the devotion of my life express my continual thanksgiving for all you have done, and may my life also stir up questions in others, prompting me to speak of your great salvation which is for all the peoples of the earth.

Peter Misselbrook