“She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak…”
Luke 8:44 (NIV)
Lord Alfred Tennyson was one of England’s greatest poets and wrote some verse that thrills and haunts me by times. I have quoted from his immortal poem Break, Break, Break before. Tennyson was in his 20’s when his best friend and sister’s fiancé suddenly died.
Tennyson wrote the poem I just referred to in a lament of never seeing his friend again. At this time of great grief and loss, his faith was shaken so that he spoke as one who had no hope. What he said was:
And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!
He observes that the world goes on as evidenced by the ships coming and going. But all he wanted was the familiar touch of the hand and sound of the voice of his beloved friend.
The woman referred to in our verse today had apparently heard of Jesus the healer and thought if she could just touch Him she might be delivered from her physical problem. As the crowd passed by her she reached out and touched his cloak. Instantly she was healed.
Jesus knew that someone had just received His healing power and stopped to ask who had touched Him. Apparently He desired to speak with the person who had been blessed by Him. The woman was fearful but admitted she was the one who was healed.
Jesus spoke lovingly to her by calling her “daughter” and commended her faith in Him and blessed her by saying, “Go in peace.” It is interesting that this scene is within another scene. Just prior to the woman touching Jesus He had been approached by an important man in society about coming to heal his only daughter. It was as Jesus started out to the man’s house that she touched Jesus.
So we see what is so characteristic of Luke’s Gospel that Jesus will interrupt Himself on a mission to tend to the needs of the lowest people in society. This woman was now poor through her medical bills over the last 12 years, clearly she had also lost her health. And by the nature of her illness would be an outcast from society. She was the lowest of the low.
But Jesus is the Saviour for the rich and the poor. He never ignores the lowly to serve the rich. Both shall have His time and energy when they seek to “touch” Him. Today Jesus is willing to bless all who will come and simply “touch” Him. Bow in His presence, wanting everything but asking for nothing. He knows your heart and will give you eternal life. His voice will never be stilled by death, His touch will last forever.