Here’s the burning question everyone wants answered: What should be my attitude when I attend church? With more and more people coming through the front doors on Sunday mornings, this is a strategic question. How should I come into the House of the Lord? Fortunately, we don’t have to look too far for the help we need. A frail, sickly lady leads the way. She saw Jesus surrounded by a crowd and determined to make her way into the presence of the Lord.
The Gospels tell us she had been bleeding for twelve years. And like everyone else, she just wanted to live a happy life with a happy ending. But for twelve long years, she has been frustrated as life has been slowly draining from her. So many are like her. Their search for earthly happiness has been frustrated at every turn. They don’t live where they want to live, they’re not married to who they really want to be married to, they don’t do what they would like to do, and they don’t make as much money as they would like to make. And on and on. Like the woman in our story, there is a flow of unhappiness that no one has been able to staunch.
She had a broken place that would not heal, probably her womb. Where life should break forth, there was only death. This constant flow needed constant attention which would constantly remind her that she was broken. Because of this flow of blood, she was ceremonially unclean; defiled. She was barred from worshipping in the temple, and she carried with her an overwhelming sense of condemnation. This woman suffered in secret. No one knew that death was stalking her. Some bondage can’t be hidden, like the Gadarene demoniacs who screamed and cut themselves. Then like this woman, some bondage can’t be seen.
Two things are necessary for change; the presence of Jesus and the presence of faith. One without the other is not sufficient. The crowd had the presence of Jesus but they exercised no faith and therefore didn’t experience the power of Jesus. This woman had previously put her faith in doctors, but not in Jesus, and therefore, she didn’t experience the power of Jesus to heal and change her. But however it happened, she is now a woman of faith seeking the presence of Jesus.
This woman saw no one but Jesus. She had a single eye of faith. She wouldn’t settle for Peter, James, or John – just Jesus. How should I come into the House of the Lord? Don’t settle for anything less than Jesus. She didn’t want to touch an apostle or be touched by an angel. Only Jesus was good enough for her. She came to touch Jesus and she would touch Jesus. She came up to Him and stretched herself out and laid hold of Him. She came to Him in the expectation of faith. The crowd pressed and jostled hoping to see something happen. She didn’t. She came to have something happen to her. She didn’t come to listen to fine music, to visit friends, or to see what Sister Jenkins was wearing. She came to touch Jesus and nothing would stop her. She said to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” If I touch Him, something’s going to happen. If I touch Him, I will experience His power. If I touch Him, I’ll be set free.
This is how she came to Jesus. This is how we should come to church.
When she touched Jesus in faith, power flowed from His wholeness into her brokenness. His life flowed into her death. His light illumined her darkness. Jesus stopped and wanted to know who had touched His garments. The disciples said that there were so many people pressing in that it could have been anyone. But Jesus knew it couldn’t have been just anyone. It had to have been one with faith, for His power had responded to faith. The woman came trembling, fell before Him, and told Him the whole truth. Jesus commended her faith and told her to go in peace.
What a great example of how to come into the House of the Lord, laser-focused on Jesus. How should I come into the House of the Lord? With the expectation of faith. But here’s the problem – If you have no need, you have no expectation. If you have no expectation, you have no focus. If you have no focus, you have no discernment. If you have no discernment, it’s easy to miss what’s right in front of you.
Does Jesus recognize faith in you? Augustine said: Flesh presses; faith touches. The crowd could say, “I saw Him; I was in His presence. He was so close I could have reached out and touched Him.” Many could say that, but only one could say, “I experienced His power.” There were many, no doubt, who needed healing, but there are some things Jesus doesn’t do except in response to faith. How many needy people brushed by Jesus, but didn’t touch Him in faith?
This is why coming into the House of the Lord is so powerful and so important. To some, worship is just singing songs. To others, worship is touching Jesus. To some, in listening to the sermon they glean some Biblical info. To others, in listening to the sermon they hear the voice of God. And in that touch and in that voice there is the release of His power. No, I don’t always need healing – but I always need His presence, His peace, His guidance. I need His power to serve Him and serve people. How should I come into the House of the Lord? Come hungry. Come desperate. Come in faith and touch Jesus.
There would be only one person more disappointed than this woman if she hadn’t touched Jesus – Jesus Himself.