This morning I read these words in Mark 6:56, "Wherever He (Jesus) went--in villages and cities and out on the farms--they laid the sick in the market plazas and streets. The sick begged Him to let them at least touch the fringe of His robe, and all who touched it were healed." (NLT1)
It started me on a search to see why touching the fringe of a garment, or the hem as many translations relate, was something that was done. Wow. I learned a lot about the tzitzit (pronounced Si-sith or TSI-tsis). These are the tassels that Moses, directed by God, told the people to add to their garments in Numbers 15:38-40, "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 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."
These tzitzit were worn to be seen, by others as well as the person wearing them. It would be like me putting on my "Jesus Girl" t-shirt, I am much more aware of my actions and words in public when I choose to wear that item from my closet. I've often joked with Ken that we should not get one of those bumper stickers that declares we are followers of Christ because we would have to change the way we drive. Hmm perhaps there is something to an outward symbol...
According to several sources the tzitzit was also used as a symbol for authority. The point they made was that when David cut off the "corner of King Saul's garment" (see 1 Samuel 24) he was taking away his authority, that is why David's conscience pricked him about what he had done and he prostrated himself before Saul. Everyone, including Saul, knew that David had been anointed by Samuel to be the next king, which is why Saul feared David. In the cave at En Gedi, David had literally taken Saul's authority and at that point he probably could have taken the throne as well. But he didn't, instead he let God choose the time for him to receive the throne. This act convinced Saul that David was telling the truth. David's contrition at this time was an act that gave authority back to Saul. Following that reasoning to touch the hem of Jesus garment, to touch the tzitzit, was recognition of Jesus authority to heal. I find that all very interesting.
But even more interesting to me; what really caught my attention today: "all who touched it were healed." It did not matter who they were, what they had done, what their illness was, whether they were clean or unclean Jesus healed them all; no limits, no conditions. Sometimes I live like I am not even in need of the Great Physician. Sometimes I neglect to seek Him for His healing touch; thinking that I am not worthy. Sometimes I even harbor thoughts that my wounds are too deep to be healed by a touch from Christ. Oh foolish heart of mine, when will I ever develop the kind of faith that believes that all things are possible through Christ?
Grace, Peace, and Mercy,