Thursday, November 8, 2012

Who Touched Me?

     On the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee was a large city called Capernaum.  Some of the Lord's greatest miracles and sermons were given in this city, and something happened there that is of profound importance in the understanding of the Lord's love for us.  (See Matthew 9; Mark 5; Luke 8.)
     One day, while Jesus was teaching the people along the shore of the sea, the assembly was interrupted by a visitor of great importance.  It was Jairus, one of the rulers of the Jewish synagogue there in Capernaum.  Jairus had come to plead for the Savior's help in healing his only daughter, a child of twelve who lay in bed, only moments from death.  Unable with all his wealth to find a physician who could heal the girl, Jairus cast aside all pride and status and threw himself at Jesus' feet, worshipping him and begging him to heal his daughter.
     Because the rulers of the synagogues often led the ridicule and opposition to the Savior's mission, this was a missionary opportunity of tremendous implications.  Jesus agreed to interrupt his teaching, and they left immediately on this urgent errand.  They were followed by the crowd of people, who were eager to see a miracle, eager to be near the Lord.  In fact, so many people were in the crowd, each one trying to be close to the Lord, that it must have been difficult for him even to walk.
     In this crowd was a woman with a terrible Goliath, a woman we could say represents each of us.  She also wanted to be near the Savior, to look into his face, to feel his love.  But this she could not do, because, according to Jewish law, she was unclean.  For twelve years she had suffered a flow of blood, an almost constant hemorrhage.
     The woman's sickness was terrible, but perhaps even worse than the physical weakness and suffering caused by this plague was the public scorn it brought upon her.  Judged unfit for marriage, unfit to mingle with the community, unfit to worship in the temple, she was regarded as an outcast, worthless and unclean.
     During those twelve long years of illness, she had spent all her money going from one physician to another, always hoping that the next one would have a cure.  but none of them had an answer.  The scripture says that she suffered many things at the hands of the doctors, things that were sometimes worse, perhaps, than the illness itself.
     For all her money and humiliation, her plague had only grown worse.  And now, after twelve long, lonely years, there was only one hope left, and that was Jesus.
     She believed that if she could only touch the hem of his robe, she would be healed.  But unlike the blind or the crippled who called so boldly for his help, she dared not ask.  She was not even suppose to be out in public.  She was unclean, unfit.  And she was separated from Jesus by a crowd of clean people.
     Many people have felt that way; that they aren't good enough to be with the Lord; that they have no right to ask for his help; that surely he would want only the clean, moral, righteous people around him; that they are forever separated by what the others are and they are not.
     There is good news for people with such feelings, because that is exactly the kind of people the Lord specializes in.  Jesus often assured us that he came not to call the righteous but the sinners.  He frequently said that the reason he came was to seek and to save those who were lost, those who needed his help.
     This woman was free to receive his love because she knew that she had no more defenses, no more substitutes, no more hope but him.  It is to that point that we each must come, and when we do we are ready for the message of this woman's experience.
     You know the story.  She did manage to push her way through the crowd, probably with her face covered so as not to be recognized, and when she touched his robe she felt the flow of blood stop.  Immediately she knew she was healed.
     But then, to her horror and the amazement of the disciples, Jesus, who was rushing to heal the dying daughter of Jairus, suddenly stopped and asked one of the most interesting questions in all of scripture: "Who touched me?"
     The apostles were incredulous.  They asked, "Master with all these people shoving and pushing, how can you ask 'Who touched me?'"
     As his eyes searched the crowd for her, he explained that this touch was different; that it was a touch of faith; that he had actually felt virtue or power flow from his body.
     "Who touched me?"
     There are other ways to ask that question:
     Who trusted in my power?
     Who believed in me?
     Who applied their faith and made claim upon the blessings I am so anxious to share with each of my brothers and sisters?
     Who touched me?
     This simply question teaches us volumes about the Lord, about who he is and what he is like.  
     It shows, for example, that nothing escapes his notice.
     It demonstrates that no act of faith goes unnoticed, that no petition for help will be ignored.  No matter where he is, no matter what he is doing, he will never miss the petition of one in need.
     It tells us that he can be pressed in a crowd, he can be occupied with important matters, like saving the life of a dying child and influencing the stubborn and blind Jewish leaders - and yet know in an instant when he has been touched by one in need.
     It shows that it is the poor and needy, the hurting and hopeless, that come first on his list of priorities.
     It demonstrates that it is okay to interrupt God.  Our prayers do not "bother him" when we plead for help.
     "Who touched me?"
     The movement stopped.  The crowd was silent.
     All eyes turned to the woman, who came in fear and trembling and fell at the feet of the Savior to confess why she had touched him.
     For one terrible moment, she must have felt that the whole world had stopped, and her rejoicing must have turned to fear.  What if the Lord was angry with her? What if he would rebuke her boldness?  What if he took her healing away?
     "Who touched me?"
     Why would Christ stop and ask that question?
     His custom was to tell those he healed not to publicize the miracle.  So why did he want to expose this woman to the crowd?  He knew who she was.  He knew that she was already healed.  He knew how urgent it was to help this Jewish ruler who had opened such an important missionary door.
     Why delay him?
     Why bother the woman?
     Why make her confess?
     Why not let her go her way in peace?
     Or could she?
     "Who touched me?"  What a divine act of kindness is wrapped up in that question.
     To begin with, by asking the woman to come forward, Jesus was able to eliminate any doubt or guilt she may have felt about receiving the healing deceptively.  He said to her,  "Daughter, be of good comfort."  Of even greater value than the healing would be the assurance that he granted the healing willingly, knowingly.  "Who touched me?" was a way to put a stamp of approval upon her faith.  It was a way of showing her and the public that she was acceptable and worthy of his notice.
     A second way this question showed his kindness was by giving her confirmation that her faith was valid.  There was no magic in his robe.  "Thy faith hath made thee whole," he said.
     Third, by asking "Who touched me?" he was able to remove any doubt that the healing was permanent.  "Go in peace and be whole of thy plague." he said.
     The fourth reason is that it removed from her the burden of proof.  It would now be public knowledge that she was clean.
     And I think the fifth and most important part of this kindness was the healing of her lonely and aching spirit.  What a treasure to remember for the rest of her life that he knew her; he noticed her; he accepted her.
     There is a similar act of kindness in the Book of Mormon.  It happened when the brother of Jared took sixteen stones up on the mountain  and asked the Lord to use his power to make them shine so that they would have light in their barges and not have to cross the ocean in the darkness.  (See Ether 3:1-6.)
     What happened is significant.  One by one the Lord touched the stones with his finger and caused them to shine.  He could have done it with a silent command or with a wave of his hand.  Instead, he touched them one by one because that was a way of saying sixteen times: "Yes, my son, you are correct.  I do have the power to grant your requests."
     Sixteen times he was saying: "Yes, my son, you are right to ask me for help when you have done all you can."
     Each time he touched a stone, he added another assurance of the Lord's desire to be part of our life and to have us walk in the light of his love.
   "Who touched me?"  What a profound demonstration of the Savior's love and willingness to help us conquer our Goliaths.
Steven A. Cramer
Conquering Your Own Goliaths
p. 89-93
1988 © Deseret Book Company
Used by Permission

9 comments:

  1. Love this Sidreis. Thanks for the share.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love the video of this story on the mormon channel also.
    http://mormonchannel.org/biblevideos?v=1689774063001

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you Sidreis....this is a very personal story for me. I, too have longed for years to have a burden healed and it Hasn't been...not sure if it ever will be taken from me in this life, but this story allows me to hope.

    I love the song," Close Enough to Touch" from Women at the Well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sparrow! I'll check out the song! Chin up! This body is just for a moment.

      Delete
  4. I LOVE this story! So beautiful and touching. ~Stacey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm so happy they gave me permission to publish it!

      Delete
  5. Oh I love this. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad! And you're welcome! From the first time I read it I loved it. I still cry when I read it. :-) I'm so happy I received permission to publish it here.

      Delete

Thank you for sharing a moment with me:-)

Ezekiel 34:11-12,16

"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick"