Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Am This Woman

...she touched the fringe of His cloak (Matthew 9:20) or ...touched his cloak (Mark 5:27)
...wanted to touch the fringe of his cloak (Mark 6:56) and they were healed as they touched

Obscure details  make me ask questions. What is going on with the cloak.....two chapters in a row people are touching the fringe of his cloak. Why? Is it a coincidence or is there a reason?  The following thoughts are a bit haphazard...and I believe I will do  more study and learn more...but this stands out to me.

The word fringe (kraspedon) describes the tassels which Jews wore in obedience to the Mosaic law (Numbers 15:38, Deut 22:12).

The cloak (himation) would have been a large square which was worn wrapped around a person as both an outer garment and a blanket at night.  The tassel would have been sewn onto the corners of this along the hemline.  A creditor could take your tunic but never your cloak (himation).

The corners of the prayer shawls - or in Jesus' day the cloak - are often called "wings."  Malachi 4:2 prophecies the Messiah would rise with healing in his wings (tassels/hem....same word). To read more about this google "tzitzit called wings." I first read about this in a book titled Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus.

WHY would God command Jewish men to wear tassels on their clothes?
  • Visible reminder to keep His commands (Numbers 15:38)
  • A sign that they stood out - they were his - they were to be obvious in their commitment to Him
  • Grew to be a sign of identity, authority and nobility
David's deep remorse at cutting the hem of Saul's cloak (I Sam 24:4-5) is understood when we realize he had symbolically assaulted the king's authority to reign. 

The pharisees were not condemned for wearing tassels but for widening them. They were trying to exaggerate their piousness to gain social status. Bad in any day and age! (Matthew 5:14-16). 

Why does this matter? What can we learn from it? 

It should be obvious to others we belong to Jesus.  What could we do as a visible reminder to keep His commandments - to love Him?  (John 14:15)

But there's more....

Here comes Jesus....a Jewish rabbi. He wears Tzitzit. People want to touch his hem....his wings...because they BELIEVED He was the Messiah and there would be healing in His wings (tzitzit). 

This woman in Mark 5 - would have been unclean for 12 years. She was marginalized. She couldn't touch or be touched. She was most likely either divorced or unmarried.  She couldn't enter into Jewish social life.  She wouldn't normally be in a crowd to avoid touching others - out of consideration of others.

Yet, here she is. She's heard of Jesus and determined He is her hope. She believes He is the Messiah with healing in His wings. She makes it through the crowd. She's still not been detected and forced to leave.  She reaches out and TOUCHES the fringe of Jesus' cloak.  Scandalous faith! 
"The hem would have signified Jesus' identity and authority. What's more, the place where the tassels were attached would have been considered the holiest part of his garment. It seems likely that the woman knew exactly what she was reaching for." Sitting at the Feet of Jesus
Via Google Images
And Jesus? He isn't afraid to admit she'd touched him. He had been made ritually unclean - He doesn't hide the fact.  He calls attention to her. The woman did not defile Jesus. His holiness is not overcome by her impurity. Jesus' holiness has the power to heal, to cleanse and to bless. 

Why does this matter?

I am this woman, shamed, marginalized and broken. Desperately craving His holiness. You are most likely this woman. 

 NOTHING in my past  - either through my sin or sin done to me  - is so shameful, so unholy that it will overpower the holiness of  Jesus. I have scandalous faith to believe  His holiness will heal and cleanse when it meets my shame.  I am called to courageously love Jesus....scandalously love Jesus.

What a Savior! No more shame!

Resources used to study this out: Strongs Exhaustive Concordance, Vines, Complete Word Study  Dictionary of the Old Testament, and  New Testament, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus,  and the Bible Background Commentary by Intervarsity Press (free on my ipad). 

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

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