WORD STUDY – YOUR FAITH MADE YOU WHOLE
Matthew 9:20-22: “And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind [him], and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. “But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.”
Acts 19:12: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
You know I have this sneaking suspicion that when I get to heaven Jesus is going to put His hand on my shoulder and ask: “Chaim, old boy, just what were you thinking down there?” I find it hard to believe that anyone is going to walk into heaven and discover all his doctrines, creeds, dogma, theology and general beliefs of God were absolutely correct. I think many of us are in for a rude awakening when we get to heaven and discover that our pre-trib, post trib, midtrib, slidtrib or protrib (whatever you believe I’m for it) might not exactly be what God had in mind.
It seems in this Western world we spend so much arguing over the correct interpretation or rendering of Scripture, insisting that we have the correct and proper interpretation or rending that we become convinced that if we do not believe exactly as God laid it out, in our understanding, we are just not going to make it into heaven. I know Christians who believe Catholics will not get to heaven because they do not believe exactly as the Baptist teach and their concept of being born again is different. There are Protestants who believe Jews will not get to heaven because they reject Jesus as the Messiah and Muslims will not get to heaven for similar reasons. We lay out strict guidelines, throw some Scripture at it and say God will not take you to heaven if you don’t tote our line,. Then again they may be saying the same thing about us.
I remember as a child someone once asked my dad, “Do you believe Hitler is in hell.” My father responded: “I don’t know, I don’t know his heart, I don’t know what his thoughts were before he died.” That has been my response all my life when asked about Muslims, Hindus, Jews etc. I don’t know, all I know is what I believe and I will share what I believe. Who really knows how the mind of God works but I am sure of one thing, if a person truly, sincerely loves God with all their hearts and minds, then somehow or someway in their walk through life they had an encounter with God and gave their hearts to Him.
I remember reading the Autobiography of Muhammad Anwar el-Sadat, the third President of Egypt who was assassinated in 1981 shortly after establishing a peace treaty with Israel, the only treaty that still exist today with Israel. He was most likely assassinated for signing this treaty. In his autobiography he told of an experience when he was in prison. He told how he got on his knees before God and surrendered his life to Him. He was suddenly filled with presence of God and said he never felt such love and peace and promised to serve God for the rest of his life.
President Sadat was a Muslim, remained a Muslim and died a Muslim. Did he go to hell? I don’t know. The Bible says Jesus in the only way to God and eternal life. But what does that really mean? Could it be in the depths of Sadat’s heart, in a place he was not even consciously aware of that Jesus spoke to Him and he accept Him but in his mind he had no idea what he did? Again, I don’t know.
But there are a couple passages of Scripture that has always nagged at me that might supply a clue. The first is the story of the woman with the issue of blood. The woman said that if she could just touch the hem of Jesus’s garment. Would someone be healed if they just touched the garment of Jesus? That sounds like superstition or mysticism. The word for garment is katan in the Aramaic it is the exact word used today for the tallit katan. The tallit katan is a garment worn for possibly thousands of years by the Hebrews as a prayer shawl which had on its borders tzitzits or tassels.
In Acts 19:12 we find that people took handkerchiefs from the Apostle Paul. That same word katan is used for handkerchiefs. Again they most likely took the tassels off of Paul’s tallit katan and used these for healing. It seems that people were healed when they touched the tassels of Paul, just as the woman with the issue of blood was healed when she touched the tassel of Jesus. Is there power in those tassels? Was there power in the mantel of Elijah or power in the rod of Moses. What if Archaeologist were to dig up Elijah’s mantel or Moses’s rod? What if somehow they found the tassels of Jesus’s or Paul’s tallit? Would touching them today heal you or has the power gone out after all these years? Why did the Roman soldiers gamble for Jesus’s katan tallit? Did they suspect there was power in those pieces of cloth? I was once in a church where they had a stack of handkerchief’s. The pastor prayed over them and people took them to their sick relatives.
I remember I was riding a bus and some old gent got up and announced that he had pieces of cloth blessed by his bishop. The blue ones were for healing of your eyes, the red ones for a blood problems and so on. He wasn’t selling them but donations were graciously accepted.
So what about it, is there healing power in pieces of cloth that are specially blessed or handled by preachers with an anointing? Jesus laid that one to rest with his words: ‘achithiki himananuki. Translated it means, “You faith has healed you.” It was not the tassel of Jesus’s prayer shawl, not were people healed in Acts by touching Paul’s tassel. Ultimately it was their faith.
But the Bible clearly says in Acts that people were healed with they touched the tassels? Moses split the Red Sea with his rod, and Elisha performed miracles with his mentor’s mantel. Are all these not proofs that some object, physical earthly object can possess the power of God?
I can only give you my opinion, for there is no real answer. But you know I believe with all my heart that to fear God has nothing to do with being afraid that God might harm you if you disobey but really means to fear breaking God’s heart. I built my Christian life around this belief and I have enjoyed a wonderfully close love relationship with God as a result of this belief. I may get to heaven and Jesus may say: “Well, Chaim, ya really had it wrong, but that’s ok, you loved me and I enjoyed that relationship.” In other words what He said to the woman with the issue of blood was, “Honey, you have it all wrong, a mere tassel or piece of cloth will not heal you, in fact that mysticism. But, hey, it’s your faith that has pleased me and it is your faith that has healed you.”
Maybe, just maybe God is not as concerned about the accuracy of our theology, doctrines and creeds as we are.