Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
I have read this so many times, but every time I read this I get the chills. It is, in my opinion, one of the most profound and most beautiful statements of love. Love is the essence of God. When we love, God is present in the most powerful of ways. He speaks in our love and acts through our love. I have always been in awe of this incomprehensible love, but a couple days ago, I thought of something which added a whole other dimension to my understanding of this love.
In Matthew 9:20-22, we find a curious story of a sick woman receiving healing simply by touching Jesus’ clothes: “Just then a woman, who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the hem of His garment; for she said to herself, ‘If I only touch His cloak, I will be healed.’ Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ He said, ‘your faith has healed you.’
Tzitziyot or tallit Hebrew word that is translated to the word hem, and it actually refers to the fringes required to be on the clothing of Jewish men, according to God’s instruction in Numbers 15 :37-41. God tells Moses, “You will have these tassels to look at so you will remember the commands of the Lord…You will remember to obey all My commands, and will be consecrated to your God.”
The significance of the tallit is developed throughout the Old Testament. It appears in 1 Samuel 24 when David cuts off the bottom off the tassel of Saul’s garment because he has rejected the commandments of God. We see the tallit as it is transferred from Elijah to Elisha when Elijah was taken up to heaven. Malachi 4:2 expresses that “the Sun of righteousness” would “arise with healing in his wings,” where wings is the same word that is used in Numbers 15:38.
In the Old Testament, tassels were therefore a reminder of God’s commandments and the unmistakable power and authority that is directly tied to these commandments. In the New Testament, though, we are given a new commandment:
“’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37)
When the woman touched the hem of his garment, she was doing far more than displaying her faith. She was touching the heart of his greatest commandment to us; she was touching his love. She touched the love that is an image of God’s perfection, of His grace, and of His awesome power.
Can you imagine what it would be like to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment? The same power that healed the woman is fully present when we obey his commandment- when we love. So then, am I not also touching his very garment when I love? She had to touch His greatest commandment before healing could flow. Only when we start to love, will our blessings begin to flow. You don’t need to imagine what it would be like to touch his garment- you touch it every time you love. HIS POWER inhabits our love.
Even this February weather cannot give me chills like this does. Consider this.
When we love, we are literally touching the very hem of Jesus’ garment.