Simply the Hem, Entry #39

“Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”

22 “Jesus turned and saw her. 

“Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.”

Matthew 9:20-22

I really don’t have a faint idea of her sickness. But I think to bleed constantly must’ve been tiring. Physically, and emotionally–exhausting. She had to ‘plan’ her days carefully to accommodate all of this. Things were never easy for this woman. It truly crippled her life; it would’ve consumed her.

This Jewish woman was suffering with an issue of blood for 12 long years. She had sought help from one physician after another, and spent all her money paying doctor’s bills. But she had not been helped. In fact, her problem got worse. And we need to remember, that she’d be completely ostracized socially–a total write-off, a reject.

Leviticus 15 explains this:

Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean. 21 Anyone who touches her bed will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. 22 Anyone who touches anything she sits on will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. 23 Whether it is the bed or anything she was sitting on, when anyone touches it, they will be unclean till evening.

(vv. 19-23)

Fourteen years of being unclean; it seems like a half of a lifetime. She was cut off from any solace of the Temple–that would’ve denied her a sacrifice for her sin. Not only was 14 years a long time, her physical disease had powerful implications spiritually as well. She would have carried around her sin like a heavy coat. She would never know the peace that infuses grace.

Her only hope was Jesus, plain and simple. His reputation as a healer and a teacher had spread like crazy through the country (even King Herod followed His ministry!)

She had one overriding desire. Nothing but a healing would be acceptable.

Perhaps Jesus had already passed by her? After all, He was on His way to a simple resurrection! But in her thinking, she could still touch Him, perhaps she just stretch out and grab the tassel of His robe. And guess what; she was healed, completely. A lightening strike!

We don’t bleed, but we sin all the time.

All of us are like this woman. We don’t bleed, but we sin all the time. Romans states, “we all have sinned, we all have fallen short of the glory of God.” Isaiah graphically describes all of us “to be like and unclean thing.” The Hebrew word for those two words is “menstrual cloth.” All the good we do amounts to something less than zero.

Each of us have definitely sinned. We’re very much ‘defiled’ even at our very best. Sin has completely ruined us. We are foul.

We must reach out, and keep reaching out, grabbing a hold of Jesus. We must seize Him, even if it’s a tiny tassel of His robe. We must snatch it and never let go; until He heals us and restores our lives. We know He can.

“Christ is the Good Physician. There is no disease He cannot heal; no sin He cannot remove; no trouble He cannot help. He is the Balm of Gilead, the Great Physician who has never yet failed to heal all the spiritual maladies of every soul that has come unto Him in faith and prayer.”

-James H. Aughley

Be Clean, Entry #18

And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, 

“I will; be clean.” 

And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Matthew 8:3 (context vv. 1-4)

He lives completely devastated. Leprosy was more than physical, it had spiritual consequences. He probably had been living as an outcast for many years. When he got anywhere close to the healthy they would shout out that he was “unclean.” They were afraid of him. He was the consummate ‘boogeyman.’

Lepers were excluded from any temple services. They could never ‘sacrifice.’ They wore their sin like a heavy coat, and they were destined to wear it for the rest of their sad lives. The Jews regarded them as cursed by God; never ever to be touched by anyone. They were the damned.

Can you even imagine the awful ugliness that life had given him?

To be clean was only a wonderful dream. It evaporated when he woke; it was never, ever realized. His disease ‘stuck’ to him permanently. (He must’ve realized that it was forever and ever.) He was cursed by God to live alone, and die damned.

It throughly amazes me that Jesus reached out and touched him. Most likely he hadn’t known any human contact for many years. I think the Lord knew and understood this man’s biggest need. To be touched was a bonanza, to be healed was ‘heaven.’

What sin has hypnotized you?

What ugliness degrades your spirit? Look to Him (and His mercy) and let Him touch you deep inside. The Law insists that contamination would spread to the person who touched the unclean, but Jesus being ‘clean’ passed on His wholeness.

That’s the kind of God I serve.

“Give up the struggle and the fight; relax in the omnipotence of the Lord Jesus; look up into His lovely face and as you behold Him, He will transform you into His likeness. You do the beholding–He does the transforming. There is no short-cut to holiness.”

–Alan Redpath