Summary: Being brought back into community by Christ.
“Healed by His Tassels”
What a difficult life this poor woman had.
A woman with an unstoppable flow of blood would be a tremendous burden on her family.
And for 12 years she had been like this.
All clothes, linens, utensils and furniture she touched, sat on or used had to be washed according to Levitical Law.
Likewise, people who touched her were considered “unclean” until evening.
Eventually, her ongoing condition seems to have led to her exclusion from her family, for we are told that she had spent all her money on a worthless chase of healing from doctors and things only got worse.
She lived her life without hugs from friends, children, grandchildren, parents.
She had no marital rights.
She probably had no income because she was unemployable.
In a culture dominated by shame and honor, she experienced constant and continuous embarrassment and exclusion.
She was lonely, isolated and impoverished.
She was also quite likely anemic and possibly dying.
After 12 unsuccessful years, her condition appears hopeless and she is desperate.
Most people might think she would be better off dead.
I remember being taught this story when I was younger.
I always had this vision of this woman kicking and throwing elbows and coming through the crowd.
And she couldn’t get to Jesus so she like dives and as she’s falling to the ground, like her finger tips grab the edge of Jesus’ cloak—at the fringe of his garment…
…but there is actually a whole lot more going on here…
…because this is a reference to the garment Jesus is wearing.
Today we would maybe call it a prayer shawl.
The word for it in Hebrew is “tel-eat” and it’s the garment that Jews wore on the outside, and it’s based on Numbers 15:37-41.
It reads, in part: “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…
…you will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord…”
So, God is giving His people a physical reminder of their identity—of who they are.
He says when you see this it will remind you not to chase after other gods but to serve Me only and be obedient to Me only and so the phrase there is to put tassels on the corners—or wings they might also call them—on the corners of your garments.
And in Jesus’ day they were doing this, and it was more like a shawl.
It wasn’t a full-on robe.
It was rectangular because the tassels had to be put on the corners—or wings.
And you would drape this garment over yourself.
We have references to this throughout Scripture.
One is when David cut the tassels off Saul’s garment when David is hiding in a cave and Saul comes in to…do his bathroom duties, shall we say.
And after this, David is racked with guilt because that tassel represents Saul’s obedience to God’s command.
In cutting off Saul’s tassels David is trying to tell Saul that he is not being obedient to God but at the same time that tassel also represents God’s wings and it represents God’s protection like “You are protected under my wings.”
And that’s why David is so racked with guilt.
He’s like “Who am I to say Saul is no longer under God’s protection?”
And who are we to think or say that of anyone?
Anyway, this woman is pushing through the crowd surrounding Jesus and she has this issue of bleeding.
And this would have made her unclean.
She wouldn’t have been allowed in an assembly.
She couldn’t have gone to the Temple and worshiped in the Temple assembly.
She couldn’t have been in a synagogue to celebrate and hear the words of the Lord from the inside.
Maybe she sat outside the synagogue and listened through a window or tried to catch the echoes through a doorway.
But she has been an outcast—an outsider because of her physical condition.
And she comes pushing through the crowd which brings up a couple of things.
She really has some huts-ba because she probably shouldn’t be there and she shouldn’t be touching the garments of a Rabbi.
But she comes pushing through the crowd and she gets up there and she grabs the edge of His cloak—which is His tassel.
We might want to ask ourselves why she is grabbing His tassel.
Why doesn’t she just grab the Rabbi and ask Him to heal her?
Why does it say she grabbed His tassel?
Well, there were a lot of Jews who were looking for the Messiah.
And they looked to Malachi Chapter 4 where it says that one of the ways they will know when the Messiah comes is that there will be healing in His wings—in His prayer shawl—in His tassels.