Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” (Mark 5:25-34 NRSV)
This poor woman had suffered for such a long time, and it seemed that no one was able to help her. Seeing Jesus in the crowd, she went behind him to touch his cloak- and was immediately healed! When Jesus then asked the crowd, “Who touched my clothes?” he was able to actually meet her- and to assure her that her faith had truly made her well.
Today I see another side to the story, and in this way I wonder how much we are like the woman. Notice how she touched him from behind and seemed to attempt sneaking away through the crowds. When he called out, “Who touched my clothes?” she returned to him “in fear and trembling.”
Do we desire a relationship with Jesus that only involves touching his cloak and hurrying away? Do we wish to seek his blessing, or healing, or help- without having to seek his face? How often do we touch Jesus just enough to benefit ourselves, but do not look him in the eye? Are we afraid that if we encounter him more personally, he will call us to follow him more closely, to do difficult things, to give up our plans? Are we afraid he will look deeply into our eyes and see everything we try to hide?
Are we seeking all of his benefits without our commitment?
As always, there is a gift for us in this story. When Jesus asked, “Who touched my clothes?’ the woman came to him with great trepidation. Like any of us who try to avoid close encounters with Jesus, she was truly afraid. But Jesus had asked the question, and so she was moved to come forward and timidly confess.
It was in her precious moment of encounter and confession that Jesus was able to heal her even more fully, by assuring her of her faith, and giving her his peace as well.
Are you talking to ME?
Today Jesus is asking, “Who touched my clothes?”
Are you more comfortable keeping your distance from all of Jesus? Do you seek Jesus only for your benefit? What would Jesus see if he looked into your eyes? What would you see if you looked into his eyes? What truth would you like to confess to Jesus today? Is there anything that needs healing in you? Where do you also need his assurance and peace?
Who touched my clothes?