Posted by: Heather | May 11, 2010

By What Authority? – Part 4 – The Hem of His Garment

Luke 8:43-48 (NIV)  And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her.

44  She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

45  “Who touched me?”  Jesus asked.  When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

46  But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

47  Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet.  In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.

48  Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace.”

In previous lessons, we learned that the tzitzit (tassels) on the cloak (tallith) Jewish men wore represent authority.  They knew and daily acknowledged that the only way to stay on the right path was to allow God’s Word to work through them.

The woman with the issue of blood was in a horrible position.  Her bleeding rendered her unclean by the Mosaic law.  This made her ineligible to go to the temple for worship, or even be around and touch others.  Menstruation for a woman in that time was a time to rest and be relieved from her regular duties.  Women were not required to serve food, or perform any other regular duties at that time, because they were considered ritually unclean.  For 5-7 days, this might seem like a short monthly vacation, but for this woman, it became her entire life.  For 12 years, she was unable to go out in public, touch her family members (without making them unclean as well), go to worship, etc.  She would have lived a terribly lonely existence.  And, to make it worse, she had spent all she had seeking healing through doctors.  But, it had only made her destitute.

But one day she heard some good news…Jesus was coming!   She had heard about Him.  She knew, as we learned in previous lessons, this was a man that the Word of God worked through (after all, He was the Word of God incarnate).  He had true authority, and was able to heal.  In a major act of faith, she left her home, knowing that ‘if I can but touch the hem of his garment, I know I’ll be whole’.

There was a huge crowd that day.  Her hope was to touch Him…not His body, but simply the tassel on His tallith.  It represented the authority He had with God.  She approached from behind, hoping to go unnoticed, because she should not have been in public.  Everyone she touched while she was there would then be unclean.  As she pressed her way to Him, she would have touched many.  But she knew she would be whole if she could just touch that tassel.

As she touched it, she was no longer unnoticed.  Jesus immediately knew someone had touched Him in faith.  At that point, simply by grabbing that tzitzit, she had taken hold of His authority to heal.  The Word of God that worked through Jesus instantly made the difference in her life.

However, when Jesus pointed her out, she was afraid.  She had been found out, and was terrified.  She knew she should not have been there.   Trembling, she fell at His feet, and told Him everything.  Jesus commended her for her faith, and sent her on her way.

The tzitzit (tassels) were placed, one on each of four corners of the garment.  The Hebrew word for ‘corner’ is ‘kanaph’.  In the picture above, you could easily see if Jesus spread his arms open, the tallith would drape over him, and it would look like wings.  ‘Kanaph’ is translated ‘wings’ in several places:

Malachi 4:2  But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; …

Psalm 91:4  He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: …

This is such a beautiful picture of the protection and love of God.  He uses the tallith and tassels to illustrate.  Those tassels, representing the Word of God working in us, are a source of healing and protection.  It’s as if we’re underneath that cloak with Him, draped in His Word, and protected by His authority.   It is certainly not us.   Without Him, we are nothing.  But, draped in His Word, and the authority that goes with it when we allow Him to change us, there is nothing that is impossible with Him!

As Christians, may we always strive to tap into God’s authority by allowing His Word to work through us.  Then, we will have the ability to ask what we will, according to His will, and see it done!

Thank you so much for sticking with me to the end of this series, and may God bless you abundantly!



  1. can you tell me who the artist is that painted the picture of Jesus in the talit that you used in this post? I would like to use it in a teaching we are doing on the tallit.


    • Gary, I’m really sorry…I don’t remember. Most of my images come from Google images, or a free stock photo site. I have several places I look, but this one was posted over a year ago, so I don’t remember.

  2. I love the way she is so convinced touching Jesus’ hem will heal her, she disregards all the rules she had been taught since birth. These rules were to to the people of her time as ancient as time, passed down for generations and generations; we talking tradition here, culture. She COULD NOT go out in public and TOUCH people, causing them to become unclean etc. But she did, regardless of any possible consequences. I DONT FANCY THERE WERE THOUGHTS IN HER HEAD ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY THAT SHE MIGHT TOUCH JESUS AND NOT BE CURED. Imagine the catastrophe that would have been!!I wish we could all just go out on a limb and reach out for Jesus minus tradition, culture, norms, etc etc

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