Only Touch

Matthew 14:34-36. “And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place had knowledge of Him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto Him all that were diseased; And besought Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.”

Gennesaret is a fertile plain on the north shore of Galilee and west of Jordan, about four miles long and two miles wide. It produced both temperat and tropical fruits, and was a lovely garden spot along the sea. It was, however, like all the rest of Israel, burdened with its share of diseased inhabitants.

When Jesus and the disciple reached this spot on the western shore of Galilee, the people spread the news. Crowds began to gather, as they always did when Jesus appeared, and He was begged to heal all their diseased.

In fact, they believed so strongly in His power that they asked only to touch the hem of his garment, and they would be healed.

I love this picture of the mission, purpose, and power of Jesus Christ.  He came to Israel as their Messiah, but they rejected that.  They were a sinful people, as we all are, and they wanted a mighty King to free them from Rome.  They didn’t want a Messiah Who was born in a cow stall, of people who were nobody special.

However, they knew He could do miracles. So, in their sin and disbelief of His messianic claims, they came by the dozens for physical healing.  They understood that His power was so great the they needed only to touch the fringes on his robe to be healed.

What they didn’t understand yet was that His touch would heal them of their sin and bring them salvation, which is far more important than physical healing. We make the same mistake. We love the idea of a relationship with God, but we want to give up nothing in order to have that relationship. We have a form of godliness, but we deny the power thereof.

The longer I work as a counselor in a Christian office, the more I am brought face to face with the shallowness of our Christianity. We harshly judge other believers; we are quick to point fingers at those whose pain is eating them alive, accusing them of not being right with God. We fail to lift up the weak hands and strengthen the feeble knees, and people whose world is falling apart find very little support and compassion among other believers Sometimes my job for two or three sessions is simply to listen to the broken hearts; to listen without judgment, criticism, or the panacea of “Just get right with God and everything will work out.”

You know, sometimes everything doesn’t work out. Ask the Christians who are being persecuted for their faith today if the persecution has come because they are not right with God.

And please pardon my little rant.  I didn’t know I was going to say all that.

4 thoughts on “Only Touch

  1. Jesus did–and does–face different levels of belief, some of which are unacceptable. Belief that focuses on Jesus, or God, as a miracle worker (who will especially rescue his “people”) often lacks true belief in who Jesus primarily is. Jn. 2:23-25 sums this up with: “many believed in his name when they saw the signs he did, but Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew all men.” Christians who think God has blessed them with a comfortable life since they believe in Jesus, yet who lack compassion for others, fit into that unacceptable level of belief.


  2. Thanks for the post, Linda. Rant on! Relative to the woman who touched the hem of His garment, I thought you might like the following:


    The LORD also spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God. I am the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the LORD your God.” [Numbers 15:37-41]

    I made the following comment on the post:

    I was a tad understated on the corner tassels, or tzitzit, sewn into the garments of the sons of Israel that I mentioned in the Numbers passage. God instructed His people to wear these as ongoing means of remembrance of their Great and Mighty Lord and all His commandments. On these tassels, God commanded there be a cord, or thread, of blue. However, the exact knowledge of this color was eventually lost after the destruction of Israel in 70 A.D. It might have been more of a bluish-purple color. The point I was making is that real Christians have the Word of God within their newly circumcised (or born again) hearts. See Luke 8:15 and Romans 10:8. For NT reference, it was one of these tassels, or “the hem of his garment,” that was touched by the woman with the issue of blood at the exact moment she was instantly healed.


    1. I remember reading and writing about the tassels when I was in that part of Matthew. Thought about it again for this post, but decided not to spend time there. It’s a very interesting things, that blue cord. I’ve wondered if it were royal blue/purple to represent the sovereignty of God. I guess it’s one of those things we’ll find out when we get to heaven 🙂 Thanks for the input.


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