The time of Jesus’ public ministry was very short. About three years is all that we have recorded in Scripture from His baptism by John the Baptist to His ascension. During those three years He healed sick, called His followers to action, discipled twelve men, and taught the ways of His kingdom. There are many accounts of His miracles recorded in the gospels, but one that intrigues me and teaches us all a valuable lesson is found in Matthew 9. It is the story of the woman who had been suffering from a bleeding condition for twelve years. Sounds like a hopeless situation to me. Talk about discouragement. I think I might have lost all faith after the first few months.
The account in Matthew says that Jesus and His disciples were going to see the daughter of a local ruler. His plea to Jesus came as a cry for help, saying that his daughter had died and she need Jesus’ healing touch. So off to the ruler’s home they went.
On their way, a side note to this story unfolds. As they are walking down the road, this woman with the bleeding condition approached Jesus from behind. I can only imagine that she was humbled to be in His presence, as she seemingly crawled along the dusty road and reached out just at the right moment to catch the edge of His garment. As she caught the edge of His clothing, Jesus noticed something happened. The gospel of Mark says that Jesus noticed that His power had left Him. One thing shocking about this account is that as they passed through the crowded streets, I have to think that there was quite a bit of pushing, shoving, and people reaching out to touch Jesus and the disciples. This woman was probably just one of many who had grabbed at Jesus’ cloak. So what was the difference in her touch and all the others?
“She said to herself, ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.’ Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’” –Matthew 9:21-22
I notice two points of application in this story. First, whatever we struggle with, whatever we seek God’s healing from, it is our faith that catches the eye of God. In the book of Hebrews we are told that without faith it is impossible to please God (11:6). The woman with the bleeding condition didn’t receive healing because of her touch of Jesus’ garment. It was because of her faith. It was her touch, among many that day that caught the attention of Jesus. Secondly, this woman took an active part in her healing. Sometimes we pray for God to do something and we are discouraged when nothing happens. We are so focused on waiting for His “touch” that we fail to see our part in the process. Our part comes through daily fellowship with our Father. We reach out and touch Him in faith through our daily communion with him. It’s through our time in prayer that we catch His eye. It’s in reading and abiding in His Word that we touch His cloak. We get His attention in simply loving Him and serving others. I am not saying we have to work our way to God, because He has already paved the way to Himself through Jesus’ sacrifice. We belong to Him out of His grace gift to us. But what I am speaking of is our daily relating to Him, like a child to a parent. It’s a relationship of faith between ourselves and God.
So when was the last time you reached out and touched the garment of Jesus? When have you been so close to Him that all you had to do was reach out your hand for a touch? He desires you to always be that close. And if you are not close enough to touch, maybe it’s time for you to move in that direction. Because a simple touch in faith can bring about any change you may need today.
Go ahead. Grab His garment, and don’t let go.
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