THE GOSPEL OF MARK – THE POWER OF THE TALITH

THE POWER OF THE TALITH

25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’”

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in pe Mark 5:25-34 

Despite this seeming interruption, there is a strong connection between these two miracles. Both stories focus on an aspect of the Messiah that is highlighted in Malachi 4:2. Encapsulated in the tassels (tsitsit) of the prayer shawl (talith) is the symbolism of everything that Messiah stood for; God’s name YHWH; God’s Word; God’s nature; and His unity in diversity. Everything that God is, was represented in the tassels.

When the woman with the issue of blood crawled through the crowd to get to Jesus, she had only one thing in mind, “Touch the tassels, touch the tassels.” according to Malachi 4:2, the kanaph – the corners of the talith – came to symbolise Messiah’s wings – the protective covering of God’s presence which represented restoration to wholeness – tekkun olam, fixing everything that was broken to the vanishing point.

The woman wanted to position herself to receive all the benefits that the tsitsit on the kanaph of the talith represented. She fastened her faith in the promise of Malachi’s prophecy.

There was an instant connection with the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus as she touched the tassels, and divine energy surged through her body, restoring everything in her body that was malfunctioning. Jesus knew it, felt it and used the opportunity to reassure her that her faith, although risky because she had violated the Torah by touching someone who was tahor – clean, had made the connection with God’s compassionate power. She had acted on Jesus yoke – His mercy and compassion – and it had paid off.

Jesus also used the opportunity to pave the way for permission to go into the room where the dead child lay. If the people around Him believed that He was tamai – unclean – , He would be permitted to enter her room, otherwise not. They did not know that He could never become tamai because everything He touched became tahor. Once again in the child’s presence, he used the talith to reveal His Messiahship.

Luella Campbell


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