his gentle touch brings us into the LIGHT for our healing and for his glory
Read Matthew 11:28-30
If we’re really honest, I’m sure we all could identify something deep inside we’d prefer to keep secret – a hidden sin, a painful wound from a friend, an unpleasant illness. Although we may want to be free of our secret, we prefer to keep things hidden because it seems easiest. It’s less awkward then airing our dirty laundry or pulling out the skeleton from our closet. But, our encounter with Jesus this week flies against our desire to keep our ugly secrets hidden and all because one woman reached out to touch Jesus.
Let’s imagine what it would’ve been like for this women to step into the crowd that day. Literally, a herd of people are pressing in on Jesus. If you’re familiar with claustrophobia, I doubt you’d have joined in. And, especially if you had a dirty secret like this woman’s – one that’s been plaguing you your whole life. What’s remarkable about this story is that neither the congestion of the crowds nor the fear of her reputation stopped this woman from getting as close to Jesus as she possibly could. She reaches out in desperation with the foundational belief that Jesus could help her – Jesus could heal her. But, interestingly enough, she’s not healed until she gets close enough to touch him.
With just one touch of Jesus’ robe, her dirty secret is healed. This moment almost feels suspended in time as Jesus stops to take notice of what just happened. Many people were surrounding Jesus and pressed up against his physical body, so what made her touch distinctly di erent? Perhaps nothing unique. Who knows how many times Jesus felt power go out from him and didn’t say anything. But this time, Jesus stops to draw attention to the healing touch. When he does, the woman finally comes out of hiding. This is no easy thing. She trembles in fear and shame as her story is revealed. Yet, Jesus receives her with tender a ection. Jesus calls her, “Daughter” and pronounces peace over her newly healed life.
It’s unfortunate how often our shameful secrets hinder us from moving toward Jesus to receive his healing touch. We worry about others hurting us. We even worry Jesus might call attention to our shame by prompting us to come out of hiding in front of the whole community. But, Jesus can be trusted. He receives us with grace. He calls us his children. And, his gentle touch brings us into the light for our healing and for his glory. We can go to him anytime, when we’re weary or heavy laden and he promises to give peace to our fearful souls (Matthew 11:28-30).
Reflection and Response
What secrets do you keep from others? Imagine running to Jesus with your secret and having him air it in public. How would you feel? How might you respond when Jesus receives you with grace and calls you ‘his child’ in front of your whole community?
By Yvonne Biel