Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for July 3rd, 2012

She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well. 

It is further reported in  Luke’s Gospel that the woman with the flow of blood touched the “fringe” of His garment (18: 40-48) . Matthew tells us that many touched the same (14: 36) In The Lutheran Study Bible is the following footnote for “fringe”:   “May refer to the tassel that Israelite men were to wear on the four corners of their out garment (Numbers 15:  38-39, Deuteronomy 22: 12). 

Deuteronomy 22: 12:

“You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of the garment with which you cover yourself.

Numbers 15:  38-39:

38“Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. 39And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. (emphasis my own)

How many times is “To  thine own self be true” quoted as Scripture?  It is not.  It’s Polonius’ advice to Laertes in Hamlet.  How many times is the following intoned:  “Follow your heart”?    A public television guru, Joseph Campbell, made a lot of money encouraging people to “follow your bliss”.  Those tassels are an important reminder then and now. 

Now note again what the Lord tells us in His Word:

 And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after.

Why are we not to “follow after” our own hearts?                                                Answer:  The heart is deceitful above all things,and desperately sick;who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:8-10

The LORD so understands your heart for all is bound by sin from the origin, original sin, so that He sets us free in His beloved Son.  If we follow our hearts, our bliss, we will be following and obeying our own unregenerate flesh.  Nothing beginning with “I”, can ever lead to eternal life (Karl Barth). We are inclined so to follow our hearts from the get go:  Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psalm 51: 5).  The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6: 5)  If we follow our own hearts, then we are lost.  The world loves its own advice and hates the doctrine of original sin. Why?  The flesh is fun and yet we see paraded before us in our own lives, in the daily news, the results of the flesh’s fun:  sin and death, divorce and adultery, adultery and STDs, hatred and murder.   The world hates the doctrine of original sin because it is true! It cuts to the bone!  But without the Gospel it’s hard to take and so the woman touched maybe His tassels, the sign of faithfulness, in the perfectly faithful One, Jesus Christ.  She knew by doing so her uncleanness could defile Him, but she was wrong:  He could be be defiled, but He cleansed her by by her faith in His Word.

What are we to follow?  Back to those tassels:  they are a kind of a commandments’ sacrament of God’s Word.   God will show us in His Law the way we are to walk and will show us when we go astray, so apt to go astray, and like sheep we have all gone astray, each into his own way (Isaiah 53) and the Lord has laid on Him the chastisement that has made us whole.  His flow of blood will stanch the flow of our sin in His mercy.  As the last verse of Psalm 119, all on God’s Law:I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant,   for I do not forget your commandments.” The woman with the flow of blood had not forgotten His commandments and this prayer and only in Word of Promise to her could she be  healed:  you as well. As Jesus said to her, he says to all who in faith take hold of Jesus Christ:

 “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

O Lord God, the jut Judge, strong and patient, You know the frailty and wickedness of men.  Be my strength, and all my trust, for my own conscience does not suffice for me.  Although I know nothing by myself, yet I cannot hereby justify myself; without Your mercy, in Your sight shall no man living be justified. Amen.

 (Prayer by Thomas a Kempis, as quoted in The Lutheran Study Bible)

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: