Posted on November 13, 2013
#28: Changed By His Touch
She pushed through the pressing crowd, jostled right and left by others wanting to see Jesus. She pulled her veil closer, trying to stay anonymous. She shouldn’t be there. She was making everyone who touched her unclean. But she was ill, alone, broke, and desperate.
He pushed through the pressing crowd, risking his standing in the synagogue to be there. His only daughter—his little princess—was breathing her last. The mourners were already gathering at his home. He was sick with fright, helpless, and desperate.
For him, twelve years of joy were about to come to a tragic end. For her, twelve years of misery seemed without end. Today, we’ll look at her story; next Wednesday, we’ll look at his.
Read Mark 5:21-34. Also read Matthew 9:18-22 and Luke 8:40-48.
Power flowed from Jesus. Many were learning that if they could just get close enough to touch His robe, healing would be theirs (Mark 3:10; Matthew 14:35b-36). Apparently, the woman in our story was among them. Maybe she knew someone who’d been healed by touching Him; maybe she’d just heard rumors. But somehow she knew that touching even the hem of his robe would be enough.
So there she was, weaving her way through the crowd, chancing discovery. Many rabbis of the day completely avoided touching women in case a woman during her monthly cycle would contaminate them, making them ceremonially unclean (Lev. 15:19). This woman’s condition would have brought a severe rebuke from most rabbis she touched; she was probably hoping to touch Jesus’ robe, receive her healing, and slip away unnoticed—a “clandestine cure,” as Matthew Henry called it.
But the instant Jesus felt power go out from Him, He called out, “Who touched My clothes?”
His disciples thought it a ridiculous question. “In this crowd, You ask, ‘Who touched Me?’ ” they said.
When Jesus continued to look around, the woman knew there was no escape. She may have feared that sneaking off would rob her of the relief she already felt in her body. She had waited too long for this to lose it now. She knelt at Jesus’ feet and fearfully confessed that she had touched His robe.
How happy she must have felt when His gentle voice assured her that this cure was hers to keep. “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Freed! She’d almost forgotten how it felt to be well. The illness that had crippled her existence for twelve long years was gone. She had her life back.
Power in His Touch
Jesus’ touch—even a touch He was unaware of—made a life-altering difference for so many. Mark 6:56b says people “begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.” No wonder “people were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them” (Mark 10:13). What happened for the children He touched? Were budding diseases halted? Were demons chased off? What blessings poured into their lives at His touch?
From a different perspective, what happened when Judas’ lips brushed Jesus’ face with a betrayer’s kiss? What did Judas feel in that moment? Did his evil intent clear for a moment? Maybe that’s why he went back to the Jewish leaders trying to withdraw his act of betrayal (Matthew 27:3-4)—then, realizing he was too late, took his own life. Perhaps the touch of Christ, so precious to those who loved Him, was unspeakably convicting to His enemy, in the same way His followers are both the fragrance of life to those being saved and the smell of death to those rejecting Him (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).
What has Jesus’ touch meant to you? Have you been changed, healed, blessed by it? Have you felt its conviction in times of rebellion? One thing is sure: no one whose life is touched by Jesus remains unchanged!
We’re wise when, in faith, we want and seek His touch of blessing in our lives. Just like the woman in that long-ago crowd, we’re sure to feel the amazing effect of His power at work in us.
© Diane McLoud 2013