“And as many as touched it were made well.” v. 56
There is more healing power in a moment of genuine faith than in a lifetime of speculation. Jesus and his followers pulled ashore at Gennesaret and the crowds came. Broken, afflicted, demonized, and dying, they came begging just to touch the fringe of his garment. As many as touched it were healed. Was there some magic power in his robe? No. The power of God was released, as it always is, by faith in Jesus. It’s interesting that so many people around Jesus never really encountered his power. Many who ate at his table, welcomed him in their homes, and had debates with him never really experienced his life changing power. But these, like the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:28-30), had their whole lives changed by a simple touch of the outer edge of his robe. The scribes and Pharisees probed his mind with questions of law and theology, Pilate spoke to him of power and asked him, “what is truth?”, but as far as we know, never experienced the love he had for them. Judas walked and talked with Jesus, ate with him, witnessed his power in the lives of other people, but completely missed him. He held tightly to the money bag (John 12:6 and13:29) but never took hold of the master’s robe. Jesus warned that someday many will say to him, “Lord, we ate and drank in your presence and you taught in our streets.” and he will answer, “I don’t know where you come from.” (Luke 13:26) They will have admired him from a distance, analyzed him in the classroom, even discussed him in the sanctuary, but never reached out to him in faith and asked for his touch.
Today so many people are wasting away in their speculations about Jesus. They are waiting for empirical evidence before they come to Christ. Others believe, but only in theory, about Jesus. They love to talk about what he looks like, what he thinks about world events, what his childhood was like. But they never quite take the step of faith required for the healing of soul, mind, and body. While the scholars and power brokers of the Jesus day were discussing the Nazarene at their tables, the rabble, the marginalized, and the nobodies of the world were reaching for the hem of his garment and experiencing him. Today we have scholars and leaders discussing this man from Nazareth. Cynics and skeptics analyze his words, looking for reasons to dismiss him. Celebrities and politicians keep him on the shelf just in case the need should arise to use his name for personal advancement. Congregants gather in churches and sway to the music that tells of him. Preachers debate the nuances of his words. But is anybody taking hold of his robe? At the end of the day, it’s the soul who reaches out in genuine faith, trusting the man from Nazareth, who walks away whole. Today I ask you to take a vacation from speculation and reach out by faith to Jesus. Bring him your greatest need and surrender it to him. Invite him into your sickness, your marriage, your job. Tell him of your greatest fears and deepest longings. Confess to him your worst sins. The touch of faith will change your life.