Touching His Garment
February 12, 2021
When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well (Matthew 14:34-36).
The parallel passage to this event is recorded in Mark 6:54-56. The healing of the people of Gennesaret is reminiscent of the healing of the woman with the blood disorder (Matthew 9:20-22). No doubt many modern religious charlatans refer to these passages of Scripture to justify their heresy of miraculous ‘healing prayer cloths’ and ‘healing holy water’. Just send in a donation and you can get one that, if you have enough faith, you can be healed.
Touching Jesus’ garment (outer ‘toga’ or robe) didn’t heal anyone. The woman in Matthew 9:20-22 was not healed because she touched Jesus’ garment. Her faith and the desire to be healed brought her to Jesus, but it was His willingness to heal her based on that faith that healed her. She said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well." But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, "Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well." And the woman was made well from that hour. The sick in Gennesaret were healed the same way. Their faith and desire to be healed brought them to Jesus, but it was His compassion for them and His willingness to heal them that made them well.
But healing people of their illnesses is not why Jesus came to them. He came to save them from sin and give them eternal life in Him. Healing them was the means to bring them to Him so He could teach them about forgiveness of sin and salvation in Him. But when they heard what they needed to do to be saved (see John 6:33-35,48-51), they were offended and walked away (John 6:52-60,66). This was a most selfish and self-centered response, yet it is the same response many people give to Jesus today. People want the things Jesus can give them, but they don’t want Jesus. They want stuff, but they don’t want salvation. They want to be well, but they don’t want to be whole. They want the spectacular, but they don’t want the spiritual.
Jesus gave them the desire of their heart because He loved them and had compassion for them. But the people didn’t want the desire of Jesus’ heart because they didn’t love Him - they just wanted something superficial from Him. He did not withhold food when they were hungry, water when they were thirsty, or healing when they were sick, just like He doesn’t withhold those things from people today. But He longs to give us so much more than what we ask if we will only believe and trust in Him for who is truly is - Son of God, Lord and Savior, Redeemer, Friend.
“Lord Jesus, forgive me for selling You short in my life. There is so much more You want for me and to do in and through me than I settle for. Forgive me of my short-sightedness and selfishness. Today I ask that You fill me again with Your Holy Spirit and continue to complete Your good work in me and through me. It is for Your glory and honor I ask, Amen.”