Jesus had just exorcised the demoniac of Gadara when he got back into the boat and returned to his hometown of Capernaum. Some of Jesus’ disciples such as Peter and Matthew were from Capernaum, and it is possible that Jesus rented a house while living there.
When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Synagogue Ruler called Jairus knelt before him, and begged Jesus to lay his hand on his dying daughter for she was as good as dead- It’s possible that Jairus the religious leader, had harbored some suspicions about Jesus, and perhaps until then, he had tried to not believe in Jesus.
But desperate situations call for desperate measures. Jairus had most likely done everything that was in his power to save his 12-year-old little girl. As the father of a girl myself, I can only imagine how desperate Jairus must’ve felt.
On the way to Jairus’ house, the crowds were pressing against Jesus as they walked though the narrow streets. The Gospel of Luke (8: 42) says that the crowds almost CRUSHED Jesus. But suddenly, the Lord stopped and asked:
“Who touched me? Who touched my garment?”
The Gospel of Luke says that after the people denied having touched Jesus, that Peter tried to reason with him, saying: “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” (Hello!)
But Jesus insisted, “Someone touched me; I know that someone touched me because Power has gone out from me.”
Jesus had so far healed many people…But this time it was different. All the other miracles of Jesus were done by means of his deliberate decision. But now, someone came and DREW POWER from Jesus.
Every miracle so far had been the product of Jesus’ decision to heal. But now, someone had touched him, DRAWING POWER from him without his deliberate and conscious consent.
- This teaches us two things:
First, that there are miracles that the Lord will do that proceed from His deliberate will. And second, that there are miracles that are DRAWN from the NATURE and ESSENCE of the Lord.
Jesus was on his way to Jairus’ house in order to perform a miracle that was going to be the product of his DIRECT WILL. And in fact, we read that when Jesus entered Jairus’ house, that he took the hand of the DEAD little girl and said: “Rise little girl,” raising her from the dead.
Whenever we think about praying for healing, we usually think along the lines of asking for a miracle that proceeds from God’s direct will and then wait for the Lord’s decision to either grant or not grant our request.BUT in today’s Gospel, we also see that there are miracles that are DRAWN FROM the LORD’S NATURE- and this, because HIS VERY ESSENCE and BEING is to be the HEALER of all our diseases… whether they be spiritual, mental or physical.
This is why the Lord reveals himself to the Israelites in Exodus 15 with the Name- “Jehovah Rapha,” which means, “The LORD your Healer.”
It is as easy for Jesus to heal the sick as it is for us to breathe.
For this reason, the Early Church Fathers called the Holy Eucharist “the medicine of immortality,” because the very presence of Jesus in our lives can cure or drastically make better the spiritual or physical diseases we deal with. The fact is that just being around Jesus, makes us better.
Jairus’ daughter was 12-years-old, but the woman that touched Jesus’ garment had been sick with what the Bible calls a hemorrhage for the last 12 years. The Gospel of Mark says that this woman had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and that although she had spent everything she had, she kept getting worse.
The early Church Fathers have speculated about this woman since the early centuries of the Church. But one thing’s for sure, because of her continuous flow of blood, she was considered “ceremonially unclean.” According to the Law of Moses a woman was ceremonially unclean during her normal cycle, and any man that would touch her would also become ceremonially unclean (Lev. 15: 19). According to Leviticus 15, a woman who was continually bleeding was continually, ceremonially unclean; and any man who would touch her would also become ceremonially unclean.
Most likely, this poor woman had previously been married and divorced by her husband- and the money she had spent on doctors was probably the legal settlement of her divorce. Whatever the case, part of the woman’s plan was to remain unnoticed- because her malady was embarrassing and could create hysteria among the Religious Men who wanted to remain ceremonially clean.
Mark chapter 3:10 says that people with diseases pushed each other, trying to TOUCH JESUS in the hopes of being healed.
Even today, within Orthodox Jewish circles, it is customary to TOUCH Rabbis who are considered to be supernaturally Righteous and Holy. But the bleeding woman didn’t want to make Jesus “ceremonially unclean.” She believed that Jesus could heal her and she wanted to be healed, but she didn’t want to make this HOLY RABBI ceremonially unclean.
In her heart she felt UNWORTHY and she was ASHAMED of her condition.
The Bible says in Psalm 51:17–
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
If she had come straightforward and told the Lord her condition- the Lord would’ve had compassion on her and healed her on the spot. But in her desperate situation she devised a cunning plan. The Gospel of Mark says that the woman had said to herself: “If I just touch his garment I will be healed.”
The Gospels of Matthew and Luke give us more details about this incident. In the middle of the commotion, the woman had pushed herself through the crowd and quickly TOOK HOLD of the edge of Jesus’ garment.
The Lord was using a garment that Jewish Men were commanded by God to wear. (Numbers 15: 37-39). The cloak that Jesus was wearing was a large, rectangular garment that served two purposes:
The Tallit, traditionally served as a head covering for Jewish men during prayer time in the Temple and the Synagogue.
As the years went by, this essential garment evolved into what is known today as a Prayer Shawl. Even today, Orthodox Jews will use a form of the Tallit as an item of clothing that is worn under street clothes.
And perhaps you have also noticed that these Tallits, or Prayer Shawls have little Fringes or Tassels. These little Fringes or Tassels were also commanded by God- as it says in- Deuteronomy 22: 12-
Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear.
When we take a closer look at the original language in Matthew 9:20 and Luke 8:44, we see that the woman, didn’t just touch the Lord’s garment, but rather, she took hold of the “fringe of his garment,” what the original Greek calls THE KRASPEDON.
The word KRASPEDON in the Greek version of the Old Testament is synonymous for the Hebrew Word: KANAPH. And the Hebrew word KANAPH in the Old Testament, in addition to meaning CORNER also means WING.
So Deuteronomy 22: 12 literally says: Make tassels (tzit-tzit) on the four WINGS of the cloak you wear.
And in the New Testament, when it says in Matthew and Luke that the woman touched the edge of the Lord’s Garment, we can literally translate it as: “She took hold of the WING (the Kraspedon) of his Garment.”
There is a great mystery connected to the taking hold of the Garment of the Lord, which reflected the attitude of the bleeding woman.
The woman knew for the last 12 years that she was not allowed to enter the Temple or the Synagogue. Her private and embarrassing condition kept her away from the religious ceremonies of her people. Because of her condition she was excluded from hearing the Blessing from the High Priest- and she couldn’t even take sacrifices to the Temple.
And because she couldn’t take sacrifices to the temple, and because she didn’t have a husband who would sacrifice on her behalf, she probably felt that she was UNRIGHTEOUS before the eyes of God.
So therefore- in the midst of the commotion- she took hold of the Wing and the Tassel of Jesus- which pointed to the RIGHTEOUSNESS of Jesus! HIS keeping of the Law. As a matter of fact- The Bible says in our English translations that when she devised this plan of touching Jesus’ garments, that she said to herself: “If I touch his clothes I will be healed.”
But in the original language of the New Testament, in the Greek, she actually says to herself:
“If I take hold of his garment, I WILL BE SAVED.”
The woman was not just concerned about her physical condition- which is what it seems to say when we read the passage in the English. No! The woman wanted to be HEALED- not only in her body- but also in her condition as an excluded daughter of Israel- UNCLEAN and UNWORTHY to stand before a Holy and Righteous God by her own merits…
Oh my dear friends- we have ALL fought and battled with secret sins that make us feel ashamed and unworthy of God. Sometimes we punish ourselves, keeping ourselves from approaching the throne of Grace because we feel unworthy, sinful and dirty. But like the woman with the Flow of Blood- TAKE HOLD of the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD- Take Hold of the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF JESUS- For it is HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS- his perfect fulfillment of the LAW that cures our condition and reconciles us with God. As it was prophesied about the Resurrection of Christ in Malachi 4: 2–
But for you who revere my name, the Sun of RIGHTEOUSNESS will rise with healing in it’s Wings!
Come and find refuge under the merciful wings that were spread on the Cross of Calvary! For He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; where his faithfulness will be your shield and where he will save you from the disease called SIN.
Take hold of HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS- take hold of HIS WINGS, take hold of HIS FAITHFULNESS, for even when we are unfaithful, when we fail, his saving love never does. For his compassion and love endures forever.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.