Devotional 40: Who Touched Me?

Text: Luke 8:40-48

A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed

40 So it was, when Jesus returned, that the multitude welcomed Him, for they were all waiting for Him. 41 And behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue. And he fell down at Jesus’ feet and begged Him to come to his house, 42 for he had an only daughter about twelve years of age, and she was dying.

But as He went, the multitudes thronged Him. 43 Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, 44 came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped.

45 And Jesus said, “Who touched Me?”

When all denied it, Peter and those with him[a] said, “Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’[b]

46 But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.” 47 Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.

48 And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer;[c] your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

As Jesus’ popularity grew, the crowds increased and became pretty much the order of the day wherever He went. Their reasons for gathering were as varied as their problems, their needs, and their motives for wanting to see Him.

What encourages most about these stories where he travels among large crowds is that there are those who are there because of two things: their faith in His claim, and their desire to get to Him for their need.

Some spoke with Him, others were brought to Him, and still others were afraid to approach His presence. We have such a story here, often sermonized through the years from various perspectives, but what’s truly remarkable about this story to me is what Jesus said after having His clothing touched:

“Who touched Me?”

He’d lain hands on many people, and restored their sight, their health, their right minds, even their departed spirits, but this touch was so special, so lost amid the large number of people, so random in that there was no crying out to Him, that even He had to ask who it was that touched Him.

Imagine a need so great, so full of longing, so full of the desire to be released from pain that you’d be willing to risk the wrath of a divine being by personally touching them. Imagine your faith so strong in that divine being that you’d be willing to touch just their clothing on the off chance that such a seemingly foolish gesture would make you well.

We’re not told how old this woman is, only that she had her condition for twelve years, one that in the culture was shameful and unclean. It likely brought her a great deal of ridicule, and caused no end of embarrassment. Yet, she knew that if her life was going to change by believing on Jesus, this would be her opportunity to change it.

We read in verse 46 Jesus’ reply to Peter:

46 But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.”

As with so many miracles, faith is the key that makes the power work. It won’t do so in cases of doubt or faithlessness. It can’t. So great was her faith, and so desperate was her desire that when she did touch His clothing, power He had not deliberately dispensed went out of Him, and in such an amount that He felt it leave.

And as before with the blind man’s cry that made Jesus stand still, so too did this.

Not knowing how Jesus would react, she tried to hide, but in verse 47 we read:

47 Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.

Interesting that in the midst of the press of a large crowd she was suddenly ‘no longer hidden.’ We are admonished that it is we who must press through our own personal crowds to get to Him. It need not be a crowd of people. It could be a crowd of idols we’ve set up around us, a crowd of past failures that tell us to be quiet, when we need to shout out all the more. Perhaps it’s a crowd of deeds and words from the past that tell us not to trouble Him, for He is royalty, and we are rags.

But He never turns away those who earnestly seek Him, who persist in spite of their current circumstances.

Jesus always responded to faith and usually called forward the petitioner. Such was the case here, but so commanding is His presence that she grew afraid, fell to her knees, and confessed what she’d done and gave her testimony as to what happened.

Jesus graciously blesses her in front of crowd:

48 Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

Her faithful boldness has not only been approved, but given the royal seal, and her restoration is now spiritual as well as physical, so that we have her story even to this day.

Therefore I pray:

Lord Jesus,

I confess that I don’t seek Your attention, for though I profess to follow and serve, there are times I don’t carry myself as a servant of all, but as a pompous man entitled and deserving of the service of others.

There are times I think my meager, half-hearted service does You honor, when it is You who has called me to serve those in need of You, to be salt and light, to be the city on the hilltop, to shout from the roof what You whisper to me in my far too infrequent prayer time.

My need of You is greater than I know, and I would press through to touch the hem of your garment, the strap of your sandal, the soles of Your feet if I were truly conscious of how small a part of my life I’ve made You. I would turn away in defeat, shouted down. I would kiss Your cheek in a moonlit garden while the servants of Hell took you in my place, count my silver, and spend it on raucous living that leads to death.

I wonder then, if You’d look for me, and leave the ninety-nine to find me still, lead me beside still waters,  restore my soul, and put me back in my right mind with the joy of my salvation.

My issue of blood is that I need Yours to cover me, that I would be mindful of my rebellious backsliding into sins that held me in a grip long ago, before the Spirit revealed You to me. I would stay connected at all times, in all things if I had strength to crucify my flesh by taking up my cross.

I would not be conveniently obedient as King Saul was, but I know that I don’t possess King David’s desire to pursue capturing Your heart. I would be mindful of counting the cost of following You, and throw the silver of betrayal into the dust.

Help me press through, Lord. Hear my cry. Stand still, turn and call to Me so that I would not be hidden from You, and I will know Your voice and follow.

Once again, let me touch the hem of Your garment, that Your power is shared with me, making me whole again.

In Your Holy Name I ask it.

Amen.

 

 

 

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