Barriers and Breakthrough
Have you ever felt like there is a barrier blocking you from experiencing all God has for you? In Luke 8:40-56 we learn about how to break through barriers to experience the blessing God makes available in Jesus.
A man named Jairus has a twelve-year old daughter who is dying, and he came to seek Jesus' help. This is pretty normal in Jesus' life; people who heard about him would seek him out for special help. But Jairus was not a normal guy, he was the leader of the local synagogue, the Jewish equivalent of church.
By the time we get to Luke chapter 8, Jesus has already challenged Judaism in deep and profound ways, and he wasn't the most popular person. But when you are desperate - when you need divine intervention - you'll do what it takes to connect with God. This is what Jairus did - he came to ask Jesus for help, and Jesus agreed.
Jesus can do what tradition cannot. Jesus isn't offering a different religion or an improved religion - he's offering a relationship with God based on what he has done.
While he was on the way to see Jairus' daughter, a woman pressed through the crowed to touch Jesus. She had heard about Jesus, and she thought if she could touch him she could be healed (Mark 5:27-28).
Why did she need to be healed? She had was bleeding - possibly a uterine haemorrhage - and had this condition for twelve years. She has spent all her financial resources on trying to find a cure, and no physician had been able to help her.
Further complicating her life was the fact that, according to Jewish law, her haemorrhage made her ceremonially unclean. She would have been excluded from church, and she would have been excluded from fellowship - because anyone she touched would have been made unclean. To reach out and touch Jesus means she had to overcome the barrier of what other people thought.
We are just like this today. We care more about what others think - about what co-workers think, about what family members think - than we do about what God thinks. Caring what others think becomes a barrier to reaching out and touching Jesus. It's not cool to follow Jesus. But that's a barrier to block you from your destiny - don't let what other people think keep you from God.
Why did the woman choose to touch Jesus? Mark 5:27 indicates that she heard the reports about Jesus. Mark 5:28 indicates she said to herself, 'If I touch him, I will be healed'. And again in Mark 5:28, she reached out and touched him. Notice the order of events:
- This woman heard something about Jesus – he could heal.
- This thing she heard created a script in her mind – if I touch him, I’ll be healed.
- The script in her mind moved her to reach out and touch Jesus.
- The thing she believed happened – she touched him and she was healed.
After Jesus healed the woman with the haemorrhage, he and Jairus were met with a message that the girl had died. The implication was clear: this circumstance is now beyond what Jesus can deal with.
Jesus doesn't seem too bothered with the circumstances, but he is concerned that Jairus' might believe the negative report. He tells Jairus, 'But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well' (Luke 8:50).
And so Jesus accompanies Jairus and does what he says - she becomes well because Jesus raises her from the dead. First, he had to get past doubters who laughed at him when he said, 'She's only sleeping'. No one mourning at the house believed Jesus had what it takes to get the job done.
What circumstances are keeping you from believing God's promises. To enter into all God has for us means we have to cross the barrier of evaluating God on the basis of our circumstances. Rather, we must evaluate our circumstances on the basis of God's promises. That means we have to live by faith.
We all face barriers to keep us from experience God's blessing. These might be religious barriers, social barriers, or circumstantial barriers. Regardless of the barrier trying to keep you from what the Lord has for you, the right move is to reach out to Jesus. And that means we have to live by faith, believing God's promises.
This is how faith works:
- Hear about Jesus
- Believe the report about Jesus
- Act on the report about Jesus
- Experience the blessing of Jesus
We want to reverse the order - if we experience it, then we'll believe it. But with God, we only experience what we previously believe. So don't let barriers block you from God; dare to believe his promises and experience all He has for you.