Default Setting

And as Jesus returned, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him. And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus’ feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house; for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him.

And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.

And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched Me?” And while they were all denying it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.”

But Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.”

When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.

And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” (Luke 8:40–48)

Why do we always assume the worst? The unnamed woman with the hemorrhage appears in three of the four Gospel accounts. When Jesus asked who had touched him, how does the woman respond? With fear. This, despite the fact that the bleeding that had been afflicting her for twelve long years had stopped. She had received from Jesus just what she wanted.

So why was she afraid of Jesus? Because the default setting on human beings is distrust of God and his intentions. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent planted a foul lie in the mind of Eve, the mother of us all: that God did not have the best of intentions for her. She came to believe that God was withholding something wonderful: the fruit that he’d forbidden. Ever since, human beings believe that God’s intentions may not always be good. The woman feared that Jesus would take away the gift that she had snatched from him. She thought that perhaps he hadn’t really been willing to give her that healing and so now he’d take it away.

But God never takes away the gifts that he gives to his children. God’s gifts are irrevocable. Jesus reassured that woman, as he reassures us today, that we can go in peace. We need to always assume the best from God. We need to trust God’s character and good intentions.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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