Thursday, July 17, 2014
The Hem of His Garment
Matt. 9:20 And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. 21 For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” 22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.
I've spent a lot of time in this passage that talks about the woman with an issue of blood and how she had spent all that she had to find a way to stop it. I identify with her because over the past 16 years as a family, both immediate and extended, we've spent lots of money searching for the cause of my headache. But finances are not what draw me to this passage over and over again. It's the faith of this women and her incredible courage. According to Jewish law and tradition, she had spent the last 12 years of her life unclean, that also meant that anything she came in contact with or anyone who touched her was unclean as well. Those people who chose to maintain contact with her knew that they would be unclean until evening after visiting with her. How incredibly alone she must have felt! Women in general were not to even look men in the eye when out in public let alone talk with them. Yet she had heard about the Master and decided to take the leap of faith and work her way through a crowd that was so thick around Jesus that his apostles wondered why He would ask who touched Him when she touched the hem of His garment.
She was willing to risk everything for the chance to be close to Jesus. How tired she must have been just moving about on a regular basis considering she had dealt with an issue of blood for 12 years. I can imagine that it took all the strength she had to be a part of that crowd and work her way to the Master. Her faith was so great that she didn't feel like she had to talk to Jesus. I imagine after spending 12 years in an unclean state she didn't even feel worthy enough for Him to lay eyes on her. Yet she knew that He had healed so many and the opportunity was one she could not pass up. In my mind's eye, I see her as the Savior turns to her and asks who touched Him. She probably wished the earth would open up and swallow her right then and there. Yet she was brave enough to admit that it had been her that touched Him. I can only imagine what joy she felt when the Savior told her that not only was she healed, but she was forgiven of her sins and she was made clean. For 12 years she spent her life living on the fringes of Jewish society because of the laws that dealt with having an issue of blood. Now she could reenter society. She would once again be clean and able to worship in the temple.( Imagine 12 years without the fellowship of the brethren.) The place where we draw our greatest source of strength, she had been denied for 12 years.
With just a few words, Jesus changed her whole life and made her clean. This is the freedom we read of in Hebrews, that the blood of Christ has cleansed us once and for all and so long as we strive to do His will His blood continues to cleanse us. We can do away with the self-doubt, the self recrimination, and the questioning of our faith. Jesus has allowed us to not only touch the hem of His garment, but to place our fingers in his nail scarred hands and the gash in his side. What a blessing to no longer worry if we have offered the right sacrifice in the right way, because He was the ultimate sacrifice.
We also can see from Matt 14: 35 (And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, 36 and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.)and
Mark 6: 56 (Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.) that she set an example that other's followed. In her courage and faith, she gave others another way to contact the healing powers of Christ. In the hardest of times, God promises us that He will use all the things in our life for good. How encouraging that thought is!
So I can rest in a safe assurance of knowing that my headache is not something I suffer because of a lack of faith, a sin I've commited that is unforgiveable(there is no such sin) but that it is a part of the human condition and the fact that because of sin pain and suffering are a part of this world. I can know that as long as I hang onto the Father, He'll not let me fall and that He will find away to make all this world's pain work together for good. When we" touch" the hem of His garment, we won't receive a miraculous healing like the women with the issue of blood, but we can know we will spend an eternity with Him where there is no pain, tears, or loss.