Intro: News—both good and bad—comes at us from every direction. Seems these days bad news travels the fastest. In other words, reports of misfortune or adversity get the most time on network news. In getting your news, do you prefer hearing the bad news first followed by the good news or the other way around?
Personally, I want the good news first because it fills me with Hope! Over the past fews weeks in worship we have spent quite a bit of time in the Book of Matthew reading the good news—gospel. This good news is what traveled fastest and as it came it filled the towns around the Sea of Galilee with excitement and anticipation of more and more good news. Jesus was the focus of this good news and it was touching the lives of people near and far! He was performing miracles—healing all kinds of infirmities—and he began to teach his apostles he would one day be sending them to the north, south, east, and west—the four corners of the earth.
As the good news spread, crowds followed Jesus as he traveled to different locations around the Sea of Galilee, because people were determined to bring loved ones and friends to be touched by Jesus. With such large crowds, it was difficult for people to get close enough to Jesus for him to touch them individually. So, the people reached out to grab the fringe [tzitzit] of Jesus’ robe and when they did they were healed. Why the fringe?
According to the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy, God instructed the Jewish men, “You must put four tassels on the hem of the cloak [outer garment] with which you cover yourself—on the front, back, and sides” (22:12). This was to help men remember they were servants of God who were committed to keeping the commands [mitzvah] by sharing in acts of compassion and kindness. Reaching for the tzitzit on Jesus’ robe was like reaching for the Holy Creator who came to bring wholeness to broken lives on earth by fulfilling God’s instructions or commands (Num 15:37-40).
Matthew 14:34-36 NLT
34 After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 When the people recognized Jesus, the news of his arrival spread quickly throughout the whole area, and soon people were bringing all their sick to be healed. 36 They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.
Prayer: Jesus, you are the Lord of Salvation. Whether we call on you in English, Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, or any other language or dialect, you are the same Person—the Holy One we must know for salvation. When we cry out to you, with one touch you heal and make us whole; you lift us from death into life eternal, from ignorance about your nature into Oneness by grace, from fruitless to fruit-bearing living, and from sinful to godly desires by filling us with your Holy Spirit. You mark us as your own when we come to you for salvation and you know everything about us. You call us Beloved because we connect to your Life; we call you Lord and Master by how we live. Thank you for making your nature known in all languages to all people who seek salvation in you. Be exalted in our hearts and lives in Jesus’ name. Amen.