September 13, 2017
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
People come to God seeking a number of different things! In Jesus day – when He walked the dusty roads of Galilee, Samaria, and Judea – how people approached Him shows us a lot about seeking the Lord. There is a right way and there are wrong ways to come to Him! Now, before we explore the ‘wrong ways’ of coming to the Lord, I want to remind you that Jesus honored even the less-than-perfect ways people came to Him! Here are ways that people approached Jesus Christ. What can we learn from them?
• Matthew 28:9 and John 20:17 –
And they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him….Jesus said
to her [Mary Magdalene], “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended
to My Father; but go to My brethren, and say to them, ‘I am ascending to
My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God.’”
In Mark 16:1 we learn that at least three women came to the tomb on resurrection morning – “…Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome….” Later, apparently, only one of them was at the tomb, Mary Magdalene (see John 20:1). So here is how we put it all together: Mary Magdalene and two other women came to where Jesus was buried early on Sunday morning. They found the heavy door-stone rolled away and were told by an angel:
…I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He is
risen as He said. Come see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly
and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead. (Matthew 28:5 and 6).
So they ran back into the city, told the disciples, and Peter and John ran to the tomb. Mary Magdalene had either not gone with the other two women to tell the disciples as the angel directed, or she came back by herself after telling them. Peter and John left the tomb, shaking their heads in wonder. It was then that Jesus appeared to Mary. When she realized it was her Lord, apparently she had tried to again hold Him by the feet. But she was told, “Do not cling to Me…” (John 20:17).
What’s the point of all this? When the three women, in Matthew 28:9, held Him by the feet (and perhaps Mary did so a second time later), they were trying to keep Jesus there on their terms! They didn’t want Him leaving them again!
You can’t keep Jesus near by grasping onto His feet! It is like you are saying, “I want Him by me! I want Him to be mine so He can bless me! I want to own Him! ” That’s why in John 20:17…
…Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to
My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, “I am ascending to
My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”
Because the Lord Jesus was ascending to His Father with the blood of the perfect sacrifice – His own blood! – He was opening for believers the access of the Father He experienced – in all its fulness! Now God is our Father and God as much as He is Jesus’ Father and God ! (See Hebrews 4:16; 10:19-22).
• Matthew 9:20, 21 – “And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment; for she said, ‘If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.”
Jesus was on His way to Jairus’ house when this happened. Jairus was “…a ruler of the synagogue…for he had an only daughter about twelve years of age, and she was dying.” (Luke 8:41, 42). He had begged Jesus to come and heal her.
The woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years was, according to Leviticus 15:19 through 27, unclean. She was not to be touched by others, and isolated from the community until the flow of blood was healed. In effect, she had been an outcast for more than a decade. She was just seeking to be healed! And who can blame her? But if all you are seeking from the Lord is the hem of His garment so you can be healed, you are falling far short of what you should be seeking!
• John 6:1 through 13 describes Jesus feeding the “…five thousand men, besides women and children.” (Matthew 14:21). He fed them with “…five barley loaves and two small fish…” (John 6:9). When we faithfully put something in Jesus’ hands, He can dramatically and miraculously multiply whatever it is! But after this feeding event, we are told in John 6:24 that “…the people…came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.” They actually wanted “…to come and take Him by force to make Him king.” (John 6:15). Why? As Jesus said in John 6:26, “…you seek Me, not because you saw the signs [of the bread and fish being multiplied in My hands], but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” They were seeking the Lord’s hands – to provide miraculously for all they perceived as their needs!
Isn’t this how many come seeking Him? They only want the miracles of His hands! They only seek His blessings to meet their needs!
Notice that I have started at His feet and proceeded upwards – to the hem of His garment, and to His hands! But is this the best way to approach the Lord Jesus Christ? We have not even gotten to our featured Scripture yet – Psalm 27:7 and 8. We will save this for Fridays’ blog.