In Luke 8, we read about the the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years without stop. You know the story: Jesus is walking among a huge crowd on the way to help a synagogue leader with his ill daughter. In the midst of all the jostling and bumping this crowd is causing, Jesus stops cold and says ‘Somebody touched me’.
The disciples must have been wondering if Jesus was joking. Imagine you are leaving a huge sports event through a narrow gate, squeezing yourself through the crowd, almost being smooshed, then suddenly shouting “Hey - who just touched me?”
The disciples are like ‘Um, Jesus, it’s kinda crowded.”
But then Jesus says this: ”Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” (Luke 8:46)
This is amazing to me. I have no doubt that every person in that crowd has something going on in their life, some issue where they could really use the power of God. Why else would they be swarming him unless they had needs which needed to be met?
But the people who inadvertently bumped into Jesus didn’t receive a blessing from him. It was the woman who, out of faith, touched Jesus with a purpose in mind.
In Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell discusses Malachi 4:2: “…the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings…” He points out that the ‘wings’ discussed here are the tassels at the end of a prayer shawl.
This woman didn’t happen to touch the edges of Jesus’ robe. She knew exactly what she was doing. She had a specific purpose in what she was doing. Her touching Jesus wasn’t on accident and it wasn’t haphazard. She set her sights on the edge of his robe because she believed he was Messiah.
I see people who go to church on Sunday, but who don’t actually follow God as being people who are bumping into Jesus. Every Sunday for a couple hours, they’re like ‘hey! Jesus! How have you been? Nice to see you! Well you take it easy for the rest of the week now, you hear?’
You don’t get anything out of accidentally bumping into Jesus.
But when you reach for him with purpose and with all your mind, strength, spirit and soul; you’re going to receive the blessing of his presence in your life. Notice that Jesus doesn’t bestow a blessing on her. It happens automatically due to her faith.
Let us in the Christian community stop being part of the mob that’s kind of going around spectating what Jesus does, occasionally bumping into him, and let’s instead set our target on connecting with him and receiving the healing and blessing he wants us to have.
Stop bumping into Jesus and start grabbing hold of him, even if it’s just the strands of clothing at the very fringe of his presence.