For the past couple of years I have been leading a Bible study on the theme “touching the robe of Christ.” This was adopted as a paradigm for the desire to break past misleading interpretations, religious terminology and church traditions and trappings in order to connect with God through Christ, to experience the reality of the Spirit’s power. As part of the approach towards this, we read through the first six chapters of Mark as if we had never read them before and never heard of Jesus. We tried for a fresh look at Jesus, who he claimed to be and what he taught. Through that exercise we gained a number of valuable and enlightening insights.
To begin the fall session, we reviewed our progress. Are we closer to “touching the robe of Christ”? Have we experienced this? The answer was unequivocally, “no.” Some were still puzzled about what that experience would “feel” like, while one person stated, “I think I have touched the robe, but nothing happened.”
Jesus taught us to LIVE the life, not just DISCUSS the life
I came away from the Bible study uncertain of the next step. However, on the way to a pastors’ breakfast with the pastor of our church, Jared White, we discussed the Bible study and he suggested that perhaps “doing” was the element we were missing. We had been neglecting the reality that the text is given to us for the purpose of FOLLOWING, not discussion. Jesus taught us to LIVE the life, not just DISCUSS the life. So it is no surprise that we had not been able to “grasp the robe,” or in grasping had not experienced any “bells and whistles.” What Jesus calls us to is obedience, to do what he commands. If we do not, then all discussion is like chasing smoke. It is like trying to analyze love without living and experiencing love. It is only by following and obeying that we are transformed into Christ’s image: into the wholeness and perfection, the harmony with God, the fulfillment of what our Father intended in our creation and sees in our potential.
So the question I will be raising in our study is no longer “how can we touch the robe,” for that is now within our grasp. Rather, with the robe in sight, the call is to follow. Will we act upon its implication and thus experience the robe through obedience to his commands?