Summary: To share my testimony of how God has healed me in the past.
We’re in the second week of a series titled Good News for People Living in a Bad News World. All around us people are dealing with bad news all day long. Today, we’re going to get a burst of good news. Good news that will make a difference for someone somewhere.
[S] “While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples. Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.
When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region.” (Matthew 9.18-26, NIV) [S]
The Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
Living on the Fringe. There are a lot of people living on the fringe. The fringe of life. The fringe of society. The fringe of work. The fringe economically. Some of you know what it’s like to live on the fringe.
The woman in this passage would have been living on the fringe. Her condition among other things forced her to the fringe. Her condition made her ritually impure. She could not go to synagogue. She could not go to the Temple. And whoever or whatever she touched would become impure as well and would need to be redeemed by following the prescribed offerings. So she kept to herself always floating around the edge or the fringe, possibly as long as 12 years.
Usually we associate living on the fringe as a negative or a problem or something to overcome. But I’m here to tell you that this scripture [S] reveals that living on the fringe is the better way to live.
Let me explain. This woman lived on the fringe in two different ways. She lived on the fringe as I’ve alluded to in the negative, but she also lived on the fringe in another way. Don’t miss this. Don’t let this slip through your fingers. She lived on the fringe of Jesus’ garment. She lived on the fringe of Jesus’ robe. She lived on the fringe of Jesus’ cloak. And that puts living on the fringe in an entirely different light.
Jewish men in Jesus’ day wore special fringes on the corners of their clothes or garments. It wasn’t to accessorize their fashion but was in response to God’s command in Numbers 15.37-41. “The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God.’ ” (NIV).
Observant or practicing Jewish men still wear these tassels which are called “tzitzit” (ziszis) on their tallit (taleet) or prayer shawl. These “fringes” are visual reminders of the 613 commandments of God. In a sense these tassels act like tying a string around your finger to remind you to stop by the store on the way home to pick up a gallon of milk.
But there was more to it than this. Apparently there was the belief among some that the fringe of the Messiahs prayer garment contained healing powers. The word translated for “fringe” or “Tassel” was also translated as “wings” in passages like Malachi 4.2. [S] “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings”. [S] This is taken as a prophecy of the messiah.
So, this woman was doing something remarkable here. She believed that Jesus was the Messiah and that he had healing in his wings and so she reached out for his fringe. [S] And in that moment she went from living on the fringe of society to living on the fringe of Jesus. Living by the fringe means being someone who calls upon Jesus for help. Living by the fringe means reaching out for Jesus. Living by the fringe means including Jesus as a serious option to making your life better. Living by the fringe means that you’re a person of faith who asks Jesus to get involved in your life. Living by the fringe means to be someone whose always going to Jesus for help. Her decision to live by the fringe made her life better. [S] Living by the fringe, it’s what Disciples do.