Hi leaders! For question 5 in this week's discussion, Pastor Roy wanted you to have this key.
5. Read Numbers 15:37-42 and Deuteronomy 22:12. We do not know for certain why the Desperate Woman actually reached for the “hem” of Jesus’ garment. However, when we understand how Jesus’ garment was most likely made, why would she reach for the “hem?” How do we best reach out for Jesus?
We best reach out to Jesus through prayer and the Word of God. God touches us through His Word.
The fringes were a symbol of authority.
The tassels around the fringe and corners of the prayer shawl signify much to those who understand why they are there. In I Samuel 24:4-6 we read about King Saul and we find that David humiliated him by sneaking up to him in a cave at the Spring of En Gendi and cutting off Saul's tassels, a symbol of his authority. After cutting them off, David's men said, "This is the day the Lord spoke of when He said to you, 'I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish'. David’s conscience bothered him for what he had done. He said to his men, 'The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord's anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.'"
Why was David upset with himself? Even though David did this to prove to Saul that he was not trying to kill him, the symbol of taking the corner fringe would be humiliation to Saul. David immediately went out of the cave and prostrated himself in humility before Saul to prove to Saul that he was not trying to kill him.
Another example of the authority represented in the tassel is found in a passage in the book of Ruth. In chapter three, Ruth went to Boaz to receive his blessing that would help her out of her difficult situation. She went to the threshing floor and slept at his feet. Ruth 3:8-9 “At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”
Boaz immediately understood and started to make every arrangement to help Ruth, and eventually, he married her. What Ruth did in asking Boaz to spread the corner of his garment over her was a symbolic way of saying she was placing herself under Boaz's authority.
Another lesson from the tassels is they reminded the Jews that they must have humility.
By the end of the Second Temple Period (70 BC - AD 135), tassels had become a symbol of social status. The wealthier you were, the fancier and larger your tassels might appear. This is human nature, since we might also be tempted to "show-off" with a public display, like the kind of car we drive, the house we live in, or the jewelry we wear. It is known that during the time of Jesus, the tassels of some Pharisees were so long and elaborate, that they dragged on the ground. It was this obvious display of pride that Jesus was rebuking when He said in Matthew 23:5 “They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long.”
Another lesson of the tassels is they were a reminder to stay “under his wings”, for God was their protector and provider!
Going back to the woman who came to Jesus for healing, she pressed through the crowd and went for the “hem of his garment.” She went after the tassel on the edge of Jesus’ “tallit,” his prayer shawl.
These tassels were a point of contact she needed to help her release her faith to receive a miracle in her life. To her, they represented the Word of God, which is always the place where we can find healing for all the needs in our life. They represented the authority of Jesus, and His power to heal. She had heard that He taught with authority, and when He spoke, people were healed.
We cannot look upon objects like a prayer shawl and its tassels for our healing. We must put our faith in Christ alone. Mankind has a great tendency to make objects sacred, as though they have some mystical power. Statues of patron saints, prayer shawls or sorts of things, even the cross itself, are often considered by some to have some special power. But objects that we may look upon as having great spiritual significance, are still only objects. They only serve to remind us of the true source of power to heal and to save. Don’t revere the object! Revere the God represented in and by the object! Sometimes though, objects are still used as a point of contact for the releasing of our faith. We use the oil to anoint those who we pray for. The Apostle Paul sent out cloths from his own body that brought people to the point of being healed. We sometimes need a physical "point of contact" that helps us exercise our faith in God. That is what the hem of Jesus' cloak was to the woman. However, we must guard carefully against attributing to objects and persons the glory and power which is God's alone. Jesus made sure to let everyone know that her healing wasn’t because of some magic, or superstition about the “hem of his garment”. Her faith had healed her; her faith in his power, as the Son of God, to heal.