MATTHEW 14: 35-36 says, ".....People brought all their sick to him and begged Him to let the sick just touch the edge of His cloak, and all who touched Him were healed."
This heart wrenching account of a woman with an issue of blood, (her age and name or not mentioned), in the Book of Luke¡¦s Gospel chapter 8: 41-56, had spent all her means trying to be healed of haemoraging, is a story of terrible desperation and affliction. She had suffered with this condition for twelve years and had spent all her monies on physicians, and was no nearer to her healing than anytime before.
She was according to the Mosaic law of Jerusalem "unclean" - an outcast of society, just the same as any leper. This meant she could not even lay down with her husband. As a matter of fact she couldn't or was not allowed to touch anyone or anything without the object of her touch becoming unclean; all because of her physical illness. Deprived of company and people to talk to, she was a terribly desperate and a very lonely woman who was known to all her society members as a 'dirty woman'!
Probably, she had at one point of her life heard or been told of this miracle-worker by the name of Jesus of Nazareth, who was suddenly performing all kinds of signs and wonders in and around Israel was now visiting her part of town. Seeing this opportunity as her last means of being cured from her illnesss, the woman with the issue of blood pressed through the milling mob of hundreds and hundreds of people just to get to Him. Thousands of people were undoubtably following Jesus and going out to greet Him after hearing all the testimonies concerning His mission.
I for one do not believe this woman may have crawled on her hands and knees to get to Jesus that day because no-where in the Scriptures does it tell us she did crawl on her hands and knees. First, if you believe the traditional story, let me be the first to tell you that no sick, unclean woman, crawling on her hands and knees can catch a group of men walking at a normal pace, and then weave her way through the pressed crowd without somebody noticing her. If she had crawled, somebody would have tripped over her as they walked along. Or they would have stepped on her hand causing a loud scream. She was attempting to touch the hem (Greek kraspedou-ƒÛƒâƒÑƒãƒàƒÕƒÔƒßƒå), the fringe or tassels of His garment. It is my opinion that the garment she touched was Jesus' prayer shawl, talit tallis He probably had wrapped around His waist.
In any case, until we touch Jesus we will not be clean from whatever ails us. There is another fact that we must understand. We are drawn by the Holy Spirit to reach out and touch Him. Our sin-filled humanity is quite comfortable within its sin-filled self and on our own we will not seek Him. The woman represents all of us who were sin-sick until our encounter with Christ. The hem of the garment spoken of in this story is the fringe of Jesus¡¦ prayer shawl, his talit tallis.
It was not the bottom hem of his cloak because Jesus asked: 'Who touched my clothes?'
Many preachers and Bible teachers have often dramatised this portion of the Holy Bible, but let us look at what the Holy Bible says concerning this encounter. The Holy Bible tells us she reached out and touched the very fringes (hem), of Jesus' long garment. This robe-like garment worn by Jesus and most Jewish Rabbi¡¦s 2,000 years ago in Israel was worn to cover all their flesh. Rabbi¡¦s were not allowed to expose any part of their bodies or be touched by anything that was unclean. This woman therefore was doing something she wasn't permitted to do, and would be stoned to death if caught. But despite facing the possibility of death by stoning and the taunts and jeers of a large angry crowd she continually pressed forward with zeal, desperation, and an inner belief - all the time repeating these words over and over again to herself: ¡§If only I can just touch the hem of His garment, I will be made whole!
Now, technically she had made Jesus unclean. She had touched a man, a holy man , a Jewish Rabbi. This is why she was not quick to own up straight away when Jesus asked His disciples and the crowd who had touched Him?
She eventually admitted that she was the guilty one when Jesus insisted that the person confess. After a few minutes she fell down on her knees before Him trembling and crying profusely - she was clearly in a state of perpetual fear of what might happen to her because, she had touched and made Jesus unclean. Trembling with emotional fear and joy, she spoke of why she had touched Him; declaring to the crowd the mighty act of deliverance and healing in which God had done for her in stopping the blood, which had flowed continually for twelve years.
Jesus response to her heartfelt cries was not one of harsh rebuke and correction, rather He speaks words of comfort to her, telling her that her faith has made her whole. Jesus then reassures her by telling her to go in peace. This woman had clearly heard of Jesus of Nazareth and all that was happening with His arrival in Israel. For in her most inner-self being ¡V deep, deep, down in her very soul she had a belief, a small amount of faith within her that Jesus could make her well and end her nightmare. But she also believed that Jesus was God¡¦s Christ, for it was no secret that Jesus was preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God. Much has been said on why this woman touched the fringes of his garment. We know that most pious Jews back in the time of Jesus¡¦ ministry obeyed the regulation to have the fringes (tassles), on their garments. It was a physical reminder to walk in the ways of God and not in the imagination of their hearts.
The Law Of A Blood Issue
"And if a woman has an issue, and her issue in her flesh is blood, she shall be put outside seven days: and whosoever touches her shall be unclean. And everything that she lies upon in her separation shall be unclean: everything also that she sits upon shall be unclean. And whosoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean. And whosoever touches any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water; and be unclean. And if it be on her bed, or on anything where upon she sat, when he touches it, he shall be unclean . . .
And if a woman have an issue of her blood for many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation: she shall be unclean . . . But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make atonement for her before the Lord for the issue of her uncleanness."
(c) Copyright 2008 Daniele Luciano Moskal
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