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November 18, 2019

Touching Heaven! Part 1

“As Jesus was on His way, the crowds almost crushed Him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind Him and touched the edge of His cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. ‘Who touched Me?’ Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the people are crowding and pressing against You.’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched Me; I know that power has gone out from Me.’ Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at His feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed. Then He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.’’’ Luke 8:42-48 (NIV2011)

In his article “What is the Kingdom of God”, pastor and author, John Piper, made this insightful comment: “The picture you get in the Gospels as Jesus unfolds the teachings of the kingdom is that it is both present and it is still future. In fact, this is what He means when He says that the mystery of the kingdom is here — presence without consummation. For example, you can hear the future dimension of the kingdom in the Lord’s Prayer: “Your kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10). We should pray that every day. Bring the kingdom, Lord. It’s not here the way we want it to be. Bring your kingdom. Bring your reign fully in people’s lives, in my life, in the world.”

This is the intercessors challenge! Jesus told us to pray for God’s Kingdom to come to earth, for His will to be done here as it is in heaven. As Christ followers and children of the King, we have the authority to bring heaven to earth! Every miracle Jesus performed did that!  He brought a slice of heaven to earth and demonstrated what life was like under the rule and reign of God.

The synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record one of these miracles when heaven came down and brought Kingdom healing to a woman who had been suffering for over 12 years.  Mark’s account of the story tells us, “She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse.” Mark 5:26 (NLT)

If ever there was a woman that needed a touch from heaven, she was the one. Her situation was desperate. Mark adds this about her story, “She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind Him through the crowd and touched His robe. For she thought to herself, ‘If I can just touch His robe, I will be healed.’”  Mark 5:27-28 (NLT) She wanted to reach out and touch heaven. Have you ever felt like that? What if you could touch heaven? Do you have a need that is so desperate that only heaven can meet, a hurt that is so painful that only heaven can heal?

When we pray, we are touching heaven. We are asking for the Kingdom of God to come, for His will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven. This is bold, life-changing, earth-shaking prayer. But to get to that place we must break through a crowd just like this woman did. There was a huge crowd around Jesus. Our crowd may not be a crowd of people. It could be a crowd of distractions, a crowd of discouragement, or a crowd of disappointment that presents a barrier to touching heaven. What is your greatest barrier that keeps you from touching heaven? What is your greatest loss you can’t seem to recover from? What is your greatest habit you can’t seem to get victory over? What is your greatest problem that seems too big to solve? It’s when we get there, at the end of our rope and we’ve lost all hope of saving ourselves that we finally reach out to touch heaven. The thick barrier of our pride needs to be broken. When that happens, we come to a “thin” place between heaven and earth and experience a loving God who cares.  If you’ve been going through hell, heaven is about to break through.

But there was one other huge obstacle this woman had to deal with. Tomorrow we will see how her greatest barrier became the very bridge that connected heaven and earth. It’s my favorite part of the story!