Extraordinary faith

Practitioner's Path
Woman touches Jesus’ garment and is healed

The Hebrew Scriptures are rich with stories and imagery of a powerful God – the God of Israel. Crafted around the life events of Adam, Eve, Noah and the descendants of Abraham, the man with whom God made the first covenant, these stories highlight the great power of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is the God that parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape the pursuing Egyptian soldiers; the God who helped a teen slay a giant that had thwarted an entire army; sent food and water to a prophet on the run; closed the mouths of hungry lions and protected 3 young boys from the flames of a furnace and there are many more stories.

Judaism – the religion at the heart of the Hebrew Scriptures – is often seen by those on the outside of it as a religion of Laws. It is in truth, so much more. Traditionally there are 613 commandments, or mitzvot that are to be kept by religious Jews and the Talmud tells us that of those 613 commandments found in the Torah (Bresheit (Genesis), Shemot (Exodus), Vayicra (Leviticus), Bamidbar (Numbers), and Devarim (Deuteronomy)), there are 248 positive ones (do this) and 365 negative ones (don’t do that).

In traditional Christian circles, the connection between the Hebrew Scriptures (what Christians call the Old Testament) and the teachings of Jesus is often described as Jesus coming to “perfect” the Law-based religion of Judaism so that ALL people have an option for salvation. This presumption forgets the teaching within Judaism that the righteous from all nations have a share in the world to come, but that topic is for another blog post on a different day.

The perspective that Jesus came not to condemn the Law of Moses, but to fulfill the Law has as many different interpretations as there are diverse religious streams. But if we look at it through the metaphysical lens, the relationship between the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament can take on a balanced and logical perspective – one without a win/lose or right/wrong orientation.

In the early 20th century, Ernest Holmes articulated what other New Thought teachers knew: that there is a Power for Good in the Universe, greater than we are, and that we can use that Power.

From this perspective we can look at the stories in the Hebrew Scriptures as tales that illustrate that great Power through the stories of people like Abraham and Sarah; Isaac and Jacob; Rebecca, Rachel and Leah; Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (also known as Shadrach, Meschach and Abednago), Elijah, Elisha and many others.

The stories of Jesus in the Christian Bible’s New Testament teach about how we can use that Power for Good. There are many stories in both wisdom texts. Today we’ll look at the story of the woman in the crowd from the book of Matthew (New Testament).

The teacher Jesus had begun his ministry in earnest and was drawing great crowds from around the region to hear him talk and teach. He was surrounded by a throng of people one day when a woman who had been sick for many years pushed her way toward him. She could not get his attention, but she pushed on, believing from all she had heard about him that if she could only touch his garment, she would be healed.

20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:

21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

Matthew 9:20-22

The lessons from the life and teaching of Jesus repeat this theme throughout the Gospels:

“Be of good comfort – thy faith has made you whole.”

Matthew 9:22

28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

Matthew 9:28-29

The stories of the heroes and heroines of the Hebrew Scriptures weave tales of circumstances where they dealt more closely with God than the more modern people of the Common Era (A.D.) Think of the many stories of prophets hearing God’s voice; Moses on Mt Sinai; the burning bush; the firestorm from the heavens that burned the offering at Mt Carmel, as examples.

The teachings of Jesus built on the Power described so perfectly in the Hebrew Scriptures and laid out a framework for using that Power in a world where the interface with God was more nuanced. Instead of needing a Moses to stretch his arm out over the Red Sea to summon the wind and part the waves; in the New Testament Jesus taught the world that any individual could tap into that same Power and that all it takes is a belief in that power, and as with the woman in the crowd, the faith to accept it.

I suspect that when we hear a booming voice from the clouds or a voice coming out of a burning bush that it’s easier to expect a miracle than when we have to settle for touching the bottom of the robe of the prophet or teacher. That’s what makes the story of the woman in the crowd so extraordinary. She took a brief encounter, blended it with extreme faith and achieved results that had eluded her for more than a decade.

Jesus summed this up later in Matthew:

“…For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 17:20

The synergy between the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian New Testament comes down to this metaphysical Truth:

  • God is that Power for Good in the Universe, greater than we are,… (documented in detail throughout the Hebrew Scriptures);.
  • and we can use it! (the teachings of Jesus in the Christian New Testament).

If we are willing, we can learn incredible lessons from both the Judaic and Christian perspectives and live lives that are transformed on every level. And so it is.

(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

Kid’s Sheet for The Sick Woman & Jesus & other Metaphysical Bible Story kids sheets are free to use with attribution

One thought on “Extraordinary faith

  1. Pingback: A mighty fortress | A Practitioner's Path

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