I have good news! The hem of his garment can still be touched by faith! Luke 8:43-44 “Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment.” Sometimes the simplest truths are the most impactful and profound truths in the scripture. It is not necessary to understand what the aorist or pluperfect tense is in Greek mean in order to understand the bible. In any translation that you read in English, this woman touched Jesus garment.
This woman’s approach was different than was Blind Bartimaeus. He called out to Jesus. She snuck up on Jesus and touched the hem or the border of his garment. Why did she do this? Because that is how her faith reasoned. Mark 5:28 “For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”
I want you to know how important it is for you and for me to be able to touch God. There is a famous painting by the artist Michelangelo in the Sistine chapel. If you search for the touch of God you will find this image. The painting is called the Creation of Adam. It is as though Adam was reaching out to God, and God was reaching out to him. Their fingers are close to each other. But there is that gap of space. Almost signifying, that no matter how hard one tries, you will not be able to touch God. I don’t know why Michelangelo didn’t have them touching. I admire Michelangelo’s artistic ability. Who am I to criticize the Sistine Chapel? But the theology portrayed in this picture is messed up. If he could have just closed that gap to me it would have meant more. Because God can touch you and you can touch God. When people search for the touch of God, they get this image that says, you will never touch God. And yet scripture is very clear. God can be touched. And God touches people. I know that is simple concept but it is incredibly important for you and me.
I believe that this story brings to light three realities of our human condition.
The first reality
- TOUCH IS IMPORTANT TO HUMANS
a. Physical touch
This woman physically touched the hem of his garment. I was listening to the radio the other day, and apparently there is a man who was in the hospital whose dog followed him there every day. When Cemal Senturk was transferred by ambulance to Medical Park Hospital in Trabzon, Turkey on January 14, his dog, Boncuk, escaped from their apartment and followed him to the facility, where she waited patiently every day for 6 days. The dog would not come into the hospital but wait by the door. This man who is an older man had lost his wife 9 years earlier. And this man had become very attached to his dog. He got the dog as a puppy after his wife passed and every day they had been together. This dog won over the hospital staff who fed him. Finally, they allowed the owner to spend an afternoon out in the sunshine, with the dog on his lap. And in just a day or two the man was able to go home. That is a touching story.
I have a question. Why is it that God would create an animal as loveable as a dog just like that dog must have been? I will tell you why. Humans need touch. The other day my wife and I were watching a historical documentary movie about WWI. And like all good movies, it had a bit of romance in it.
And there was a point in the movie, where they wound up sitting together and their hands were very close, and then the little finger of the lady moved over to simply touch the little finger of the man’s hand. Isn’t it incredible the power of love that can be conveyed in a simple touch. That simple touch spoke volumes in the movie. It said, I am falling for you and will you respond by touching me back on my hand. Words didn’t have to be said. Things didn’t have to be written down. Love was all conveyed in a single moment by a simple touch of one reaching out to the other.
This season of COVID has been hard as far as human contact goes. We aren’t supposed to hug one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. We maintain our distance, because we fear infecting someone or being infected. We distance ourselves from one another. I know that there has to be people in old folks homes who used to be visited by family, and hugged and had their hand held. And they long for that human touch.
What I am saying is that humanity needs to be touched. In fact, that if a child is born and then just left to lay in a crib, even though diapers are changed, and bottles are given. If that child is not held by its mother or father or some human. That the child’s immune system will go down. Even their personality will be affected. It is said that children raised that way lack empathy.
I didn’t write all that to get you feeling mushy about dogs, or your sweetheart, or thinking about your baby when it was first born. I said that because, we are created in the image of God. We have stamped within us and upon us the image of the divine. It doesn’t matter whether you are saved or not, God created you in such a way that you need His touch. So why would God place himself so far above humanity that it would be impossible for men and women to touch him and for God to touch us?
Isn’t human touch enough? Isn’t it enough that we crave those hugs from grandbabies, and spouses, and brothers and sisters, and the family of God. I don’t think so.
We also need
b. God’s Touch
As this woman touched the hem of his garment she was looking for God’s touch. I think that down on the inside of every human heart.
There is an ache.
There is a desire.
There is a hunger.
Many don’t recognize it or understand it. Many search for that touch in other things and in other ways. But I have news for you. Everybody needs a divine touch. Everybody needs to touch the divine. Has God always touched humanity? God has always wanted to dwell with humanity. In the book of Revelation, we will dwell with him. Do you touch the people you dwell with? Of course. I cannot imagine that in the garden when God came down in the cool of the evening, that a perfectly innocent Adam and Eve lived without ever touching God. If fact, if you study the whole concept of sacrifices beginning with Cain and Abel and on down through the establishment of the sacrificial system. All of that was done, so that the barrier of sin that stood between a holy God and sinful man could be done away with and men could come close to God.
- Enoch walked with God and God took him.
- Abram was called by God, and God even visited him as a man at his tent. He cooked for him.
- Jacob wrestled with God.
- Moses encountered him at the burning bush, and later God put him in the cleft of the rock and covered him with his hand as God in all of his glory and splendor passed by.
One of my favorite verses is 1 Samuel 10:26 “Saul also went to his home in Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched.” It is not only the weak, the sick, the infirm and those in bondage that need his touch. God is looking for valiant men and woman who will touch him and God will touch. You can be marked by the touch of God.
As you come to the New Testament you see the same thing. Now we have the Eternal Word becoming flesh. Jesus appearing as that newborn babe. Touched by his mother. He wrestled with his brothers like all brothers do. This was God in the flesh. And we see him touching humanity.
- Even the lepers.
- Even the social outcasts.
- Even those on the fringes of society.
Rescuing the adulteress from being stoned. Jesus touched them all!
And when it was time for him to ascend into heaven he promised to send the Holy Spirit who would touch us. John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” And you get to the book of Acts, and the Holy Spirit is outpoured. The people are so touched by God the Holy Spirit that the speak in other tongues. They prophesy. They are empowered by God. They turn their world upside down. Nobody has to convince them of the reality of God because they know he is real. Their hearts have been touched. Their mind has been touched. God wants to touch us today. .
Let’s get back to this lady in Luke 8:42 “But as He went, the multitudes thronged Him.” We don’t quite understand that with our modern sense of etiquette. But many we were around him. Children touched him. People grabbed the sleave of his garment. He was thronged. And then the scripture describes this woman. Luke 8:42 “Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any,” Mark 5:26b “She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.”
Here was a woman in great need. All of her money was gone. For 12 years she had been hemorrhaging. Under the Old Testament law, the very fact that she had an issue of blood caused her to become a social outcast. Leviticus 15:25 describes not only her physical condition but how the law looked at her. “If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, other than at the time of her customary impurity, or if it runs beyond her usual time of impurity, all the days of her unclean discharge shall be as the days of her customary impurity. She shall be unclean.” Under the law, she was considered unclean. She was in a sense like a leper. If you study the passage…What she sat on was unclean. What she slept on was unclean. Because of that, there is no doubt she was ostracized from her family and friends. Nobody wanted to touch her.
And she had suffered greatly in the hands of physicians. It had cost her all she had. She now felt completely alone. She now felt completely isolated from society. But this woman was desperate for a healing touch. If you lose enough blood, you grow weak. There was no hospital giving transfusions of blood. She was weak. She was broke. She was tired and she was weary. But like Bartimaeus, she had heard of Jesus. Mark 5:27 has this simple phrase, “When she heard about Jesus…”
There is no doubt that she heard that he was a healer. Some had called him the Messiah. Others thought he was a prophet. She undoubtably knew he was holy in order to perform the miracles he did. She falsely thought this man is going to be repulsed by my condition. She felt too ashamed to stand before Jesus and the multitude that thronged him and say, “I am unclean. I have an issue with my blood. It has been for years.” The shame covered her.
But there is one thing that she did have, she had a portion of faith and portion of reasoning. She said to herself. Mark 5:28 “For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” It was her last hope. It was touch him or die! I will touch the hem of his garment.
Let me bring to light another reality this passage reveals. Here is a spiritual reality.
- HIS VIRTUE / POWER IS GREATER THAN YOUR ISSUE
I was raised on the KJV Luke 8:43 says, “And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years…” Now we would say that differently. We don’t speak King James. We would say she had an issue with her blood. That issue is easy for us to understand. She kept losing blood. But here is what I want you to understand: You have an issue with your blood. You might be thinking, what? I just had my blood checked, it is fine. No it’s not. Every human being on the planet has an issue with their blood. Here is why: Your blood can be traced back to Adam. Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—”
This woman had an issue with her blood. Without healing she would die. And if you are a member of the human race, guess what? Your blood can be traced back to Adam. because Adam sinned, sin came to the world, and death. That is why God had to be the Father of Jesus the Messiah. Because through Adam, sin entered the world, and death through sin. Death has spread to all men. It is not the physical death that is hard to deal with. It is spiritual death. Spiritual death is separation from God.
But I have good new today. There was a second Adam his name was Jesus. Romans 5:19 “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” The day you gave your life to Christ, something happened. Through that one Man’s righteous act of dying on a cross, a free gift came to you. That free gift resulted in justification of life.
Jesus power and virtue are greater than your issue! I can see this lady. She is ashamed that she is unclean. For 12 years she has hiding in the shadows. Traveling late at night to physicians so as not to be found unclean in public. And now her plan in her mind was to touch the border of his garment. Luke 8:44 says that she “came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped.”
Can you imagine the determination she had that day? Her faith was driving her. Her faith had to overcome the power of the weakness she felt in her. Her faith had to overcome the feeling of shame that surrounded her. Her faith had to overcome the jostling of the crowd. She was just going to touch Him and she knew she would be healed. She thought it would all be a secret and he would go on.
Luke 8:45-46 “And Jesus said, “Who touched Me?” When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, “Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ” But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.” Another version says, he perceived virtue going out from him.
- When you have the courage to bring your issue to Jesus.
- When you have the courage to use your faith.
- When you have the courage to press in to touch Jesus. I have good news for you. His power is greater than your issue. His virtue is greater than your issue.
You may think, I have accepted Jesus but I still have some issues! Welcome to becoming a part of those who are being sanctified, and set apart. Welcome to those who although are justified by His grace, are still in the process of being perfected. We all have some issues that are left over from our old life. The answer is still the same.
We need to touch Jesus. So press in while you are worshipping. Call on the name of the Lord. Pray! Seek Him! Reach your hands towards heaven. Your spirit is doing all it can to touch the Lord. There will come a moment in your life. When something is going to be released. I believe in the inevitable supernatural intervention of God. Something is released when we touch Him by faith.
- Its power.
- Its virtue.
- Its grace.
- Its strength.
- It touches your will.
- It touches your mind.
- It cleanses your soul.
- It refreshes your spirit.
- It renews your heart.
I am talking about the touch of God! I am talking that point of contact when your faith encounters the loving wonderful gracious virtue of one by the name of Jesus!
- I have problems. He is bigger than your problems.
- I have addictions. He is bigger than your addiction.
- I still have a temper. I still yield to temptation. You need a touch.
Ephesians 3:16 says, “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;” Just like we need human touch in the physical realm, we need spiritual touches in the spiritual realm. Does anyone know what I am talking about? Have you ever been touched by God? Has anyone ever had an encounter with the Living God? You couldn’t see him. You could feel him! It only has to happen once, and you don’t an apologist to prove to you the existence of God. You have encountered Him. You know it!
This woman knew it. Jesus was saying, Somebody touched me! Mark 5:32-33 “And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.”
She knew not only that she had touched the hem of his garment! But she also knew that the power of God had passed through her and she was healed. Sometimes the best thing to do is simply to tell him everything! Just let him know it! Tell him the truth. The whole truth.
I love the way it ended. Mark 5:34 “And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” In this message we are revealing spiritual reality. The reality of how human and divine touch are necessary for life.
The reality of how his power is greater than your issue. There is a third reality I want to bring to light very quickly.
THE HEM OF HIS GARMENT SHOWS CHRIST POWER AND AUTHORITY
The word “hem” means “fringe, tassel, or the border of a garment”. It says in Numbers 15:38-39 “Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners. 39 And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined,”
The mantle of the time was a long rectangular cloth that draped down over the body. It had four corners at the bottom. The Israelite’s were to attach tassels to the four corners of their garments and hem the garment in blue.. When the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of His garment she would have touched one of the tassels. These tassels were to remind each Jewish man of his responsibility to fulfill God’s commandments. In fact, these tassels are tied into 613 knots to constantly remind them of the 613 laws of Moses. In Moses law there are 365 prohibitions. (The “thou shalt not” laws) There are 248 affirmations (the “thou shall” laws). The knots also correspond with the unspoken name of God, the unspoken, Yahweh.
Because they were hanging on the four corners of your garment, in full view of everyone including yourself, they would be a constant reminder to walk according to God’s Laws. Wearing these tassels would be comparable to us wearing a large Bible on a rope around our necks. We are reminded of how we should behave in public. God intended them to be a constant reminder of His Word when he told the Israelites to wear these fringes.
Now we know that those who were Pharisees made their tassles long to show holy they were. We know that if they were wealthy the blue thread was greater and more prominent because to get a blue dye in those days was incredibly expensive. If she had touched the hem of the garment of a pharisee nothing would have happened.
But she touched the hem of HIS garment. Jesus garment. Only one man who ever lived completely fulfilled all the law of God. His name was Jesus. Every knot that was tied in that fringe absolutely had been fulfilled. Only one man could trace his linage back to a king by the name of David. That blue thread represented royalty. It represented authority. When David snuck up on Saul and cut off a portion of his garment. It is believed that he took that corner with the tassle. It was about Saul’s authority.
When you come to Jesus, you come to the one who has all authority. When you reach out to touch him you are reaching out to touch the one who was tempted in all ways, yet never sinned. You are reaching out to the one who said, All authority in heaven and in earth are given unto me. You are reaching out to the one who had unlimited power to heal, to deliver and to save. You are reaching out to the one who is not just a King but the King of Kings. You are reaching out to the one who has conquered death, hell and the grave. He has the keys.
I don’t know whether this woman knew it or put it all together spiritually. All I know is that day,
Malachi 4:2 “The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings;” It is my understanding that the word wings refers to the hem of his garment. That day Jesus arose and with healing in His wings.
The question is do you need a touch?