Monday, November 28, 2011

Just Look at that Filthy Gown!

What was at stake there? In the biblical account of the woman with the issue of blood, she could have risked her life just being in the crowd. According to tradition and law at the time, with a disease such as hers, she was unclean, and anything or anyone she touched became unclean, too. At the very least, she’d have to cry out ‘unclean’ as she approached like the lepers. If discovered, imagine the outburst from those she’d just made unclean.

Being the inquisitive person I am, I can’t help but wonder if anyone recognized her as the diseased woman or if they all focused on getting to Jesus. (How many other unclean people were in their midst?) All four gospels tell us she had this medical condition for twelve years. She’d spent all her living on physicians and none could heal her. Surely there had to be someone in the crowd she’d fear would recognize her. She was an outcast and had been for a long time. No wonder she cowered in fear when Jesus asked who touched Him; the fact that she was in the crowd was pointed out to everyone.

If we wrote this as a superhero cartoon, it might read: Filthy Monster meets the Spotless Lamb, doesn’t sound like the lamb has a chance. This unclean, or filthy, woman had to either presume that this Man of God would heal her, or that she would make Him unclean, too. She sought to reach out and touch the very opposite of what she was.

If detectives touch something at a crime scene, they risk contaminating evidence versus solving their ‘who-dunnit’. There’s risk involved until you know for sure and go for it. Matthew 9:21 tells us this woman was sure: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

Isaiah 64:6 tells us that our righteousness is as filthy rags before a holy God. So dressed in our own righteousness, we wear filthy rags. And it’s in those wretched, filthy rags that the God of the universe invites us to reach out and touch perfection. Instead of us making Him unclean, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

Ponder this: If I reach out to Him, what's the worst/best thing that can happen?

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