There is so much that I want to share with you all about what God is doing in our lives, but to tell it all now might overwhelm you, dear reader. I could fill a book with tales of God’s goodness to us and the wonders He is working in our hearts and lives every day. You may recall that my last post was from the beginning of the year. At that time I had resolved to devote more time and effort to this blog. The truth is that life took me on a little detour of discovery that prevented me from following through. Now, two months into the year, I have a clearer sense of vision and purpose, and I hope that this blog will be a big part of what I believe God is calling me to do! That being said, I want to share with you some Bible art, some new favorite journaling tools, and a free template!
My journey into Bible Journaling started over three years ago with another New Year’s resolution: to read strait through the Bible. And, I did!
Y’all, it has changed 👏🏻 my 👏🏻 life 👏🏻!
Now, I’ve stared again, reading chronologically this time. And…I’m in…Leviticus. Let’s be honest. Leviticus is tough. Sometimes it can be hard to draw spiritual encouragement from the seemingly endless rules and regulations of Levitical law. It’s simply not as exhilarating a read as the narratives of Genesis and Exodus. It lacks the beauty of the Psalms. However, if we have eyes to see and ears to hear, Leviticus provides salt that will bring out the flavors of the stories that follow. Knowing the full impact of imperfection according to the law will help us to better understand the deep sorrow of those restricted from worship and separated from their people because of chronic illness or physical defect. The more familiar you are with God’s Word, the more apparent these connections become. So, back to Leviticus. As I got ready to read through chapter 15, the section about bodily discharges, I was not particularly excited. Honestly, I was a little grossed out. I got to the section about women and bleeding (I’m trying to be delicate), and my mind turned to the Gospels and the story of the woman who had, “an issue of blood” for 12 years. Leviticus 15 provides so much insight into this woman’s story as we learn that, because of her affliction, she was perpetually unclean according to Jewish law. Not only that, but anyone she touched would be made temporarily unclean as well. What a lonely life! Consider it. Because she was unclean, she was banned from joining her people in corporate worship to God. She could not take part in their feasts or festivals. Her friends and family could not and would not touch her for fear that they, too, would be made unclean. Mark tells us that she had gone to doctors and spent all of her money trying to be cured and that she had suffered many things at their hands. This is a lonely, desperate woman.
She must have felt so much sorrow and so much shame! I wonder if she kept her ailment a secret. Or, was that even possible? That day, did she feel as if every person in that crowd that brushed against her or bumped into her walked away a bit dirtier than they had been before, as though she carried a curse? Did she wonder if she was herself a curse to her people? She was unclean, untouchable, unworthy to worship, unable to approach her priest or her God. And, she wasn’t getting better. She was getting worse.
Then she hears about Jesus, a man that could do miracles. He raised the dead, cast out demons, healed the sick, made the lame walk, and the blind see. Perhaps He would heal her. As the crowds pressed in to see Jesus, I can imagine her feeling invisible and unimportant, pushed aside as Jesus passed. Was she shouting and reaching with the rest? Picture her, realizing that she is not able to stretch far enough to reach past the grasping hands around her. Feel her panic rise as she fears the chance for healing will pass her by. Imagine her moving quickly, perhaps stooping to shove her arm through the crowd at waist level. Maybe she falls to her knees or is pushed to the ground. However it happens, she reaches out, confident that if she can touch so much as the tassels hanging from Jesus’s cloak she will be healed. The Bible tells us that when her fingers touched the fringe of his garment power went out from Him. She was healed in that moment. She knew. She felt it. She was clean and whole again.
But, she is not as invisible as she may think. The Savior turns and speaks to His disciples,
“Who touched me?”
Fear must have gripped the woman as they began to look around for her, the one who had defiled the Messiah. He knew. He’d felt it. Her touch had made Him unclean. She’d selfishly taken from Him so that she could be clean…and He knew it.
So, she did the only thing that she could. Holding nothing back, she fell down before Jesus and told Him everything. To her surprise, His response was no sharp rebuke. He did not blame her for daring to touch Him. Jesus has no fear of being made unclean. On the contrary, He knew that His blood could make even this woman’s soul clean. No, His response was one of love and mercy. He spoke to her kindly, called her daughter, and explained that her faith in Him had healed her. He bid her, “go in peace.” No need to feel guilt or shame over her own boldness. No longer separate from her people. No longer barred from worship. She could live a life of peace, a life reconciled with God and man.
WOW! Right? What an amazing story! We have so much to learn from this woman’s faith. The depth of her need for a Savior comes clearly into focus as we realize how hopelessly separated she was from God. Like her, we are helpless to make ourselves clean and holy enough to stand before a righteous God. We are sick in our sin and unable to save ourselves. We need a Savior. We need Jesus, just like she did. And, like her, we are saved by grace through faith, a salvation that is not of our own doing, but the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
The impact of this miraculous encounter upon this woman’s life is made clearer by our understanding of its implications within the context of Leviticallaw. Our God is an amazing storyteller, and He uses every word to its fullest. Nothing is mentioned haphazardly, but each detail serves a specific purpose. Even the detail that she touched the fringe or tassel of Jesus’s cloak will lead us to discover that these weren’t just any tassels, but special tassels that the Jews were commanded by God to wear on their garments to serve as a reminder for them to observe the law. (Numbers 15:38; Deuteronomy 22:12) So, we have the fulfillment of the Law, Jesus, wearing a reminder of the Law, the same Law that deemed this woman to be unclean. Then, by reaching out to touch this very symbol, she is made clean. Why? Because, Jesus came to reunite humanity with the Father, not to separate them because of their weaknesses. This grace that was more powerful than the curse of the woman’s uncleanness is the same grace that is greater than all of our sins if we will just reach out in faith to the one that loves us enough to save us.
I wanted to somehow capture all of this in my art for this verse. I chose to illustrate the tassel to look similar to the Jewish tzitzit, though not a literal representation. I have also added poppies because I associate them with death and Memorial Day. Until cleaned by the blood of Christ, we are dead in our sins. I chose to illustrate those beneath and far away from the woman’s hand in red, but the poppy closest to her fingertips touching the tassel fringe is white to symbolize her being made clean. If you’d like to add this illustration to your Bible, you can download the template here: One Touch Template It is formatted for the large, spiral bound Illustrated Faith Bible. A smaller version that may work better in traditional Journaling Bibles can be found here: One Touch Template (Small). Also, I am pushing myself to add personal reflections to my Bible Art, so I’ve added some lines for that. Feel free to use my words, or add your own.
Finally, as promised, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite new supplies: this set of metallic pencils.
They. 👏🏻 Are. 👏🏻 Legit! 👏🏻
I used them on this page to fill in the word “touch” as it transitioned from black to gold. These pencils deliver on quality of color, blendability, and sparkly-ness. While I use many different supplies and methods in my Bible Art, my favorite is just good old colored pencils. (Prismacolor is my favorite brand.) That being said, I often use a marker or pen for metallic finishes and they can bleed through the page. These pencils have completely solved that issue for me. I’m seriously loving them! If you’d like to try them, you can follow this link.* If you do, let us know what you think in the comments. Or, if you have another product you love to use, share it with us.
As always, I thank you for taking the time to read these thoughts and always eagerly await your feedback and comments. I pray that you are blessed, dear friends.
🙂 Sarah B
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