Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Hem of His Garment

What's so special about the hem of Jesus' robe in the first place?", I asked myself. One believer at work lead me in the direction of a another hidden truth. We conversed about this story in

Matthew 9:20-21

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.

She explained to me that she had pondered this question in her heart. Why not his heel or back or anything else? Why the hem? There is always something symbolic in every story. Something to discover and understand the deeper meaning of. The answer came to her, and she said she felt like shouting for joy from the response. As she drove on her way home, a voice whispered, "Because the hem made the garment whole just as I am whole. " The look on her face as she told the story was truly amazing.

The hem completed the garment, just as Christ had completed God's plan.

Looking further I found more truth. In the Jewish tradition, the males wore a prayer shawl, called a talit. Attached to the talit is tassels. The English word hem is a translation of a Greek word meaning a tassel of twisted wool. In Hebrew, these tassels, which are attached to the corners of the prayer shawl, are called tzitzit. In Deuteronomy 22:12 and Numbers 15:37-41 God lays out the biblical command to wear these tzitzits to remind the people of His commandments. So this is what she touched but there is more hidden truth here.

These tassels are also called the border, edge, corner or fringe. In Numbers 15:38 the word translated border is a Hebrew word which can also be translated wings as it is some seventy-six times in the biblical text. Because of this, the corners of the prayer shawl are often called wings.

During the first century there were several traditions associated with the tzitzit concerning Messiah. One was that these knotted fringes possessed healing powers. This tradition has its roots in the prophecy of Malachi 4:2 where the Messiah is said to be coming with healing in His wings.

Certainly the woman with the issue of blood knew of these traditions, which would explain why she sought to touch the corner (the wings) of Jesus' prayer garment. It also becomes clear why this woman was instantly healed. She was expressing her faith in Jesus as the Son of Righteousness with healing in His wings and declaring her faith in God's prophetic Word.

And still another truth is found in how the tzitzit was made. As the maker tied the knots, it was made in such a way that it had the names of God in it. Each twist and turn of the strands was significant in representing God's name being formed into the tzitzit. So when the woman touched the "hem" of Jesus garment she actually touched the very names of God!

Awesome isn't it to know how our understanding of God is ongoing. As I try to understand more of who God is, I'm drawn into an ever deeper meaning of the word-truth.

"Where I found truth, there found I my God, who is the truth itself." Augustine


Lance Gargus
"The most important of life's battles is the one we fight daily in the silent chambers of the soul."