Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped.
And Jesus said, “Who touched Me?”
When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, “Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ”
But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.” Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.
[Luke 8:43-47 NKJV]
I confess that I’m a sucker for good quotations, and yesterday afternoon, while enjoying my January copy of ‘The Oldie’ magazine, I came across this in a ‘Golden Oldies’ review by Rachel Johnson. Ms Johnson writes, ‘At LBC’s Leicester Square HQ, where I work, there’s a mission statement emblazoned on the wall in reception, saying “Nobody will ever remember what you said. But they won’t forget how you made them feel.”’
Now this is not maybe the most promising start to a meditation, but I hope that you will bear with me. The Bible rarely talks about how we feel emotionally, although there is a huge amount of emotion on display in the stories and parables. There is a recognition that our emotions play a huge part in our day-to-day; but usually when we read about ‘feel’ it is about touching the surface of something. Here is Jacob deceiving his father Isaac into thinking that he, Jacob, was actually his elder brother Esau ...
Isaac said to Jacob, "Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not." So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, "The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau." And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau's hands; so he blessed him.
[Genesis 27:21-23 NKJV]
Isaac, being blind, relied on touch to recognise Esau and was deceived. The mission statement in the quote above recognises something important about the human condition, which is that we are most affected by being touched on the inside. I can say that on many occasions I have heard a great word spoken, but almost never can I recall what or how it was said, even after repeated listening on a recording.
And when Jesus was touched on the hem of His robe by the flow of blood, He felt the power going out from Him. I find this extraordinary. Of all the stories where Jesus’ heals, this is the only one I can think of (there may well be others), which mentions Jesus experience of the healing taking place. It is all the more unusual because the healing was not a deliberate act on Jesus’ part. The woman was healed because she trusted that Jesus’ presence was sufficient.
Jesus could not be deceived into giving His blessing like Isaac, because His very essence is blessing. We cannot take it, or command it, or claim it, because it is freely given to all in His presence, regardless of status.
We never forget how Jesus makes us feel, which ensures that we also remember His words to us.
It is a great moment when we realise we have the power to trample on certain moods, a tremendous emancipation to get rid of every kind of self-consciousness and heed one thing only: the relationship between God and myself.