Matthew 14:34-36
34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

There is a progression in this story that is equal parts encouraging and challenging for me. First, the people of Gennesaret recognize Jesus. This is step one. But it’s not simply that they recognize his face, they recognize who he is, and what his mission is. When they recognize Jesus, it motivates them to do what? Tell others. Their recognition of Jesus leads to an invitation of others.

When word is spread, the next step is that people brought the hurting. People understood that Jesus could change lives. He could mend the broken, heal the sick, and set free the oppressed. The important piece to see here is that Jesus is still doing that today! The final step is that those who touched Jesus were healed!

So the progression is recognize Jesus – invite others (especially the hurting) – touch Jesus – be healed.

The point I want to make today is that this progression is just as true today as it was when these verses were written. Part of being a follower of Jesus is being a person of invitation. When we recognize that Jesus is at work (in our church for instance, or our small group, or our lives) we naturally want others to experience him. When we recognize his love, forgiveness, and power in our lives, we want to share it with others.

As Jesus changes our lives, we invite others to experience the same life change. And, as people find Jesus, as they touch him, and allow him to touch them, they will find healing of all kinds. The thing I think we sometimes get confused is we think we need to change people. The truth is we can’t. Only he can. What we do is invite people to meet Jesus. But it is his touch that changes lives.

Today, let’s reflect on how invitational we are in our faith. Is there anyone in our lives whom God is asking us to invite? Is there anyone hurting we know, who needs a touch from Jesus? How can we help them move towards him?

I pray that you would show me how and when to be more invitational: not out of obligation or guilt, but out of love.

Author: Christian Dunn