“Who touched Me?” What? Lord, the whole crowd is pressing in to touch You, and you ask “Who touched Me?” Lord, it doesn’t make sense. Everybody is touching You.
I imagine that is what most of the disciples were either thinking or saying when the Lord asked this question in a large crowd one day. In reality someone had touched Him, but she had touched Him in desperation, in faith. After all, He was her last hope. She was dying of a hemorrhaging disease, and she had been sick for so very long. No one had been able to help her. That is until Christ came.
You know the story well. It is our Gospel lesson today in Mark 5:24-34. Look here:
At that time, a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well.” And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?'” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
The woman with the issue of blood said to herself “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well.” But she got more than she bargained for. She was hoping to stay anonymous, unnoticed and secret. But she did that which always gets God’s attention – she believed! And her faith changed everything. In fact, her faith, her belief in Christ’s power to heal, is still changing the world even to this day. Wow, now that’s what I call a legacy!
But I want to call your attention to the last words the Lord said to her that day. When all the crowd now has been drawn to notice this poor woman and the Lord has a captive audience to teach us all something wonderful, He says to the woman “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
First notice He calls her “daughter.” There is nothing like a true father’s love to want his child to be well and happy. The connection between faith and love cannot be stressed enough. Love makes faith deeper and faith makes love stronger. they go hand in hand. It is why a mere assent to some religious philosophy always fails to rise to the level of true faith and love. The relationship God desires with us has never been one of “master and servant,” but “father and child.”
Second He tells her that her “faith has made you well.” That’s what faith always does. It makes people whole. Not just in body, that would be too small for something as wonderful as faith. After all, this precious woman, though healed of her physical ailment, eventually faced what we all face – our own mortality. She died physically. But her faith made her “well.” Her faith meant that even with mortality, she was complete, whole, healthy in body and soul. This is what faith, true faith, does to a person. It makes that person truly whole, well.
Finally, He sends her away with His peace and tells her she is healed. The Lord never makes us whole only for ourselves. he sends us into a hurting and broken world with His unquenchable peace to show the world what a whole person looks like. We become His ambassadors of the new creation He is working through the whole world by healing us and giving us peace. You know this woman could never get away from that moment in her life when all was lost until she came to Christ. From that moment on, her story was the same every time someone noticed her peaceful demeanor, her healthy glow, her joyous smile. “What is it about you, lady?” “Well,” she would respond “let me tell you about the day I met Christ…”
Today, you are going to encounter Christ. You are going to meet Him in your prayers, in a pleasant conversation, over a meal with a friend, or perhaps even in a painful confrontation. But you are going to meet Him today. He is simply unavoidable. The only issue will be will you recognize Him and then will you have the courage to say “If only I touch the hem of His garment…” When you meet Christ today, have faith. Be well. Be Orthodox on Purpose!
P.S. This Sunday’s Faith Encouraged LIVE program is about the recent Supreme Court decision regarding civil licenses for same sex marriages. How do we, as Orthodox Christians, approach this seismic shift in our society? How do we talk about it with our friends and family? What is a loving and faithful way to avoid both the passions of panic and anger and fear? Join me this Sunday night at 8PM Eastern for Faith Encouraged LIVE on AncientFaith.com