Bringing the sick to Jesus

When I was reading Matthew 15 the other day I was struck by Jesus' presence on the mountaintop.

29 Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. 30 And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, 31 so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel. 

On this occasion, he did not make it easy for people to reach him. I imagined it must have been quite the effort for the healthy friends to carry up a mountain the lame or crippled person who can't walk, or guide the blind guy up the steep paths. I'm sure they were overjoyed to have their friends and family healed but maybe a little jealous of the region in the previous chapter, Gennesaret who had Jesus on their coastline.
Matthew 14:34 And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36 and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. 
Those people in G-town had to make a lesser effort to reach the same Jesus. I thought there was something I needed to learn from this. I got to thinking about healing and prayer. Prayer is relatively easy, so easy, I fall asleep if I try to do it too long. But what would be hard prayer? Pretty quickly I thought about fasting. When it comes to praying for people, I'm very lazy. I think Jesus should be on the shoreline, but maybe he's on the mountain. Millions of Christians around the world and through history know that prayer and fasting get answers. It's not that God can't hear my lazy shoreline prayers, and he has, but he may be trying to get me up on the mountain with Him.

This past year, in keeping with historic church practices as described in the Didache, I've been fasting twice a week, Wednesdays and Fridays, breakfast and lunch. I prefer to not skip meals with my family when I'm home with them.
Chapter 8. Fasting and Prayer (the Lord's Prayer). But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week. Rather, fast on the fourth day and the Preparation (Friday). Do not pray like the hypocrites, but rather as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, like this: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily (needful) bread, and forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (or, evil); for Thine is the power and the glory for ever.. Pray this three times each day. 
The funny thing is I do live on the shoreline. There aren't any mountains to hike and pray up around here. But maybe I can take a prayer walk and focus on one person to bring to Jesus.

Comments

Joe K said…
Great observation John. Three things that stuck out for me: 1) Jesus did not turn anyone away, 2) No one complained (at least it was not recorded) 3) This is a great example of how to love our neighbor as ourselves. It’s so simple. All we have to do is to go to Jesus.

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