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Seeds of the Kingdom

Touching Jesus

by Bob Stull

20 February 2012

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She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, Who was it that touched me? When all denied it, Peter said, Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!
Luke 8:44-45, ESV

Recently, while reading my way through the Gospels, I was again challenged by the story of the woman with the issue of blood who sought Jesus out in the midst of a great crowd. Jesus had just said that He would go to attend to the sick daughter of an important man. This was evidently a big deal to many people for the Scriptures tell us that, after He agreed to go, a great throng of people followed Him (Luke 8:42).

In the midst of the throng of the multitudes the unclean woman with an issue of blood makes her way through the crowd just to touch the hem of His garment. She sees Jesus wearing a prayer shawl which has the blue tassels hanging from the corners of it, thus denoting that He was a Rabbi or a teacher. The one wearing a prayer shawl was seen to be someone who was seeking to keep the Covenant God had made with His people (Numbers 15:38-39). In her mind, she’s coming to worship, just as she’s seen the synagogue ruler do, but she knows that being unclean with an issue of blood she can’t approach Jesus as the ruler did, head on.

The exchange that follows her touching a tassel, or a tzitzit, on the hem of His garment is a challenging and telling one. Jesus immediately asks, "Who was it that touched me?" The disciples are amazed that Jesus would ask that and Peter responds with, "Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!"

Which brings me to the challenging point of the whole encounter for me. This story tells me that many throng Him, or crowd round Him, but few really touch Him. I suppose we could also say that many believe in Jesus, but far fewer actually follow Him in their daily life. But if we’re serious in seeking Jesus, He’ll stop dead in His tracks, turn, and want to encounter us one-on-one… personally. Despite all that may be going on around Him or in relation to Him, He’ll still take time for the one person who’s serious about seeking Him and worshipping Him for who He is.

Prayer: Jesus, don’t let me be just one of the crowd. Help me to be one who’s not afraid to touch the hem of Your garment, seeking You for who You are. Let me not be afraid to worship You, and acknowledge You before all those who may throng You but aren’t touching You. Amen.

Bob Stull who, along with his wife Judy, serves on Ellel USA’s Leadership Team. Bob is a retired Anglican clergyman whose passion is to see God’s people healed so they might live in single-minded obedience to Jesus‘ call.

 

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