Summary: This is a sermon that teaches that "touching" is not just knowing something about Jesus.
How To Touch Jesus
Men – Have you ever gone to a ballgame or a fair or concert…. or anyplace where you were caught up in a huge crowd of people pushing each other to get inside… or out?
You are being jostled around… people stepping on your feet, pushing you in the back, cutting in on the side. What do you think about? YOUR WALLET.
I usually take my wallet out of my back pocket and put it in my front pocket… and put my hand in my pocket over it.
Why? Because it is difficult to tell the difference between a push or a bump and a deliberate pick-pocket.
Jesus was in a crowd like that one day.
He didn’t have to worry about his wallet… but he was being touched and bumped and pawed.
Jesus was getting touched all over that day. And like you at the ball game, he paid no attention to most of it.
Then all of a sudden Jesus stops and says, “Who touched me?”
The disciples must have looked at each other like… who touched you? Just about everybody in town has touched you. Do you expect us to identify the person who made one certain touch?
There are many people who touch Jesus every day. And there are many different ways in which people touch Jesus.
Some touched Him superficially, (the crowd)
Some touched Him curiously. (early days of integration)
Some touched Him angrily.
None of those touches were what Jesus was looking for.
None of those touches elicits a response from Jesus.
But there is a touch that is different than the rest... a touch that excites Jesus, that issues forth in the outflow of God's healing power.
IT IS THE TOUCH OF FAITH
Let’s back up and get THE REST OF THE STORY.
In our scripture today there is the story of a woman... a desperate, hopeless, helpless woman. For 12 years she has been sick with some malady, some disease that caused her to bleed. What other women experienced once a month… she lived through daily.
It had ruined her life.
According to the Jewish Law, this “issue of blood” made her unclean. That meant that she was not able to touch anyone else and no one else could touch her…
not ever her kids
not even her family
not even her husband
She became a complete social outcast!!!
Her marriage was over
She had no job
She could not go to church
She could not go to the market
She could not go around other people AT ALL!
She had this crazy idea… if only Jesus would touch her, she would be healed.
But that could not happen because she would defile him.
SO… if he would not touch her… she would touch him.
She decided she would carefully and secretly sneak up through the crowd and ever so barely touch just the very fringe at the bottom of his garment.
He would not know, no one would know because she would go to a different city where no one knew her … but she believed she would be healed.
Everything worked… until she touched him… then it all goes crazy.
Jesus stops and says, “WHO TOUCHED ME?”
Everything goes quiet. Everyone is looking around to see who it is.
She melts into the crowd to hide. She thinks he will soon move on.
But Jesus refuses to move until the person is identified.
He waits. His eyes scour the crowd. His eyes fall on her… and stay there. Like a hot knife… it burns into her heart and she falls on her knees and says, “IT WAS ME!”
What is the lesson we learn from this woman?
You Can touch Jesus in a Hopeless Situation
This woman had endured 12 years of personal pain, shameful disease, and dead end hopes.
She had been to every doctor, every specialist, every quack… tried every home remedy, every myth… and still she continued to be sick.
Surely in those 12 years there were days when it came and went.
Every time it went away, brought great hope that it was over. Only to be dashed again and again with each return.
It had certainly wasted her health and her wealth. It had left her a social outcast, a family shame, probably relegated to some obscure part of the house.
After 12 years she was surely close to giving up all hope.
BUT IT WAS IN THAT HOPELESS SITUATION THAT SHE TOUCHED JESUS.
This may have been her last straw… no more hope if this failed.
But she touched HIM… and she was healed!!!
Some of you can identify with the woman because you too are living with some hopeless situation.
Maybe it is a marriage on which you have given up hope… you have tried to make it work but the other person just does not try. You have tried all you know… and you are ready to walk away.