Reaching Out To Jesus
This morning I read a passage in the Gospel of Matthew filled with stories of Jesus healing people, raising the dead, giving sight to the blind. There was this one story in particular, though, that caught my attention.
20 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.
"If I can only touch his cloak," the woman thought, "I will be healed." The cloak the passage is referring to here is a tallit or a prayer shawl that Jesus would have been wearing.
His shawl, like the shawls worn by all faithful Jewish men (even today), would have had tassels that dragged the ground, strands with knots tied in them. These strands are known as tzittzits, and the knots (613 of them) represent the law of Moses. They were used in prayer, much like a rosary.
In the crowd of people, all of whom were pressing against Jesus as he walked, this woman reached out to touch the most accessible part of Jesus clothing--the knots of his prayer shawl that he would have touched when he prayed.
As I read this passage, I got to thinking about all the troubles I've faced, all of the times in my life when I felt like "If only I could figure this out...things will be better." or "If only I would just through this... then it will all make sense."
I feel like most of us Jesus-followers have this bad habit of resorting to everything but Jesus when we are trying to work through life's challenges, deal with crises, overcome obstacles or struggle through tragedy and trial.
But this woman, desperate in her need, simply reached out to Jesus--believing that just touching the strands on his cloak would heal her.
I need to reach out to Jesus more. I need to turn to him first and foremost when, like this woman, my challenges and obstacles are draining the life out of me. It will mean that I have to humble myself and admit that there's not much I can do on my own. It will mean that I will need to give up my desire for control. It will mean a great deal of trust and hope.
May you reach for Jesus today and every day. May you surrender your pride and the overwhelming desire that you might feel to try and solve your problems and challenges on your own. May you find healing, strength and hope as you reach for the One who heals, restores and resurrects.
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