Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”Luke 8:40-48
A crowd was waiting for him there. Maybe they’d gathered to hear what had happened when the rabbi and his students visited Roman territory. Maybe some of the boats that had tagged along returned ahead of Jesus and told the people about the duel with the storm or how demons had called this rabbi the Son of the Most High.
We know why she was there. She’d spent twelve years and all her money trying to stop the bleeding and nothing had worked.
Twelve years quarantined to live alone in one room. Twelve years cut off from family and friends, from worship in the synagogue and Temple. Twelve years without human touch. Isolated and unclean.
She snuck up behind the rabbi, reached through the bustling buzzing crowd, and touched the corner of his outer garment.
The edge, or hem, was tied to a person’s identity and authority. In antiquity, clay contracts could be signed by pressing the corner of one’s hem into the still-wet tablet. David repented when he cut off the hem of King Saul’s robe because, by doing so, he had symbolically taken the authority of the king that can only be given and taken by the LORD (1 Samuel 24:4-5).
Since the days of Moses, Jewish men wore tassels as reminders to keep the commands of the LORD. The tassels were attached to the hem of outer garments, at the corners – or kanafim, which is also the Hebrew word for the rays of the sun and the wings of a bird.
A thread dyed the same expensive blue as the high priest’s robe, ran through every tassel to remind every Jew that they were part of a nation of priests representing the LORD to the whole world.
The nation had waited so long for the Messiah to arrive. The prophets promised he would one day defeat Israel’s enemies, establish his kingdom on earth, and bring healing.
But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings (kanafim).Malachi 4:2
Healing flowed through the Messiah’s wings, quieting the pain, stilling the sickness. Immediately, the woman was healed.
“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
She’d broken the law when she broke through the crowd to Jesus. Every person she’d made contact with was made unclean. Women were restricted from intentionally touching almost any man outside of their family. If the crowd found out what she’d done they could turn on her and take her life just as it had finally been saved!
Trembling, in full view of the crowd, she fell at the rabbi’s feet and confessed.
Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
With healing in his wings and the authority of Heaven in his hem, Jesus defeated sickness, estrangement, and fear to give back health, community, and peace.
• Am I in any way choosing isolation and brokenness and rejecting community and health?
Healer. Restorer. Peace-maker.
We are isolated and desperate for relationships. We are broken and longing to be healed. You have all we need in your wings.
Yet we have been too frightened to leave our room, too certain of our hopeless prognosis, to reach to You. Make us brave today.
Restore us to health and community and give us peace.