Article: Closer to Christ, Crossing the Crowd | Olive Reji, India

The first Christmas began with welcoming Christ as a child into His earthly abode. It was celebrated by groups of people with almost nothing in common – the magi ( the intellectuals), and the shepherds (the common man). Though the purpose for the revelation varied, their responses were the same. The moment they received it, they were on the move. They didn’t stay where they were. They began a walk toward the Savior. A walk that would bring man and God closer. From the Garden of Eden to the earthly ministry of Christ and the coming eternity, the primary purpose of the relationship between man and God is to stay close to each other. Jesus called his disciples first and foremost to “be with Him”(Mark 3:14). Creation was meant for man’s fellowship with God, and so is his eternity in Heaven.

Now the question is this. Where are we now? Are we with Him or away from Him? If we are with Him, we are fulfilling the purpose of our creation, but if we are at a distance, this Christmas is the right time to start our journey toward Christ.

In the book of Mark, we see a hopeless woman who has had a bleeding disease for more than 12 years. The Jews called her Zavah – the untouchable. Mosaic law called her a cursed woman, a metaphorical expression of sin and impurity. She lived in solitude since everything she touched was unclean. People expected her not to cross paths with anyone and held her responsible if she did so. She had spent more than a decade in shame. She heard about Jesus and believed that she would be healed if she touched even the end of His garment. To touch Him, she had to move toward Him.

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*Obstacles in Getting Closer to Jesus*

1. Her unworthiness: Her uncleanness was her unworthiness to reach Jesus. She thought that if she touched Jesus, according to the law, she would make him unclean. Sometimes, our guilt feelings stop us from getting closer to Jesus. We find ourselves unworthy in God’s presence to pray or to open our mouths and worship Him. But remember this woman, and brig your unworthiness to him. Despite her social status, she took that bold step to go near Jesus because she knew only He could help her.

2. The Crowd: A large crowd pressed around Jesus. How could a woman shunned from society walk through a crowd? But she did just that because she wanted to get to Jesus. What is the crowd before us today? Is it my job, my family, or my sinful desires?

How do we identify the crowd in our lives? The crowd is what we always think about or are always surrounded by, which keeps us from Jesus. Anything that doesn’t allow us to meditate on God’s Word or in prayer is our ‘crowd’. Things on this earth have become a heavy burden on our shoulders and an obstacle in running our race. Hebrews 12: 1 says, ‘Remove every burden off your shoulder’ and walk towards Him. What are we after today? Wealth and Fame? Possessions and Positions?

Take a moment to find our crowd. Find out what eats our time and space that belongs to Jesus. Look at the woman standing away from Jesus, with a huge crowd in between. Yet she didn’t wait for the crowd to move. Her heart had only one desire- to touch Jesus, even if it was just the end of his garment. So she got into the crowd, crossed it, reached Jesus, touched His garment, and got healed. If we wait for the crowd to move and then plan to get closer to Jesus, things will not progress. Let the crowd be there, but find a way through the crowd to reach Jesus. The busyness of our lives will never lessen, so don’t wait for it.

This is our time to pass the crowd and get closer to Jesus. Someone had aptly said, “If the devil cannot make you bad, he will make you busy”. When she touched His garment, power flowed from Jesus, and she was healed. The power of Jesus changed her identity and her testimony. She was sick but now healed. Was unworthy, but now worthy. Was dying but got a new life. She was bound, but now she is free. She becomes a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). Coming closer to Christ is a life-transforming experience. Take your first step today. Let this Christmas be a time to get closer to Jesus.

Olive Reji

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