Of hems and handkerchiefs

I remember feeling a little puzzled about the woman in the Bible who was cured when she reached for the hem of Christ Jesus' robe. See Matt. 9:20–22 . What a marvelous healing—freedom after twelve years of suffering! But was it contact with a piece of cloth that really healed?

Others in New Testament times had similar experiences. The Bible mentions that many people from the land of Gennesaret entreated Jesus "that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole." Matt. 14:36. Somewhat parallel events occurred during Paul's healing ministry. Did a handkerchief contain some kind of mysterious curative power? The book of Acts leaves this record: "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them." Acts 19:11, 12.

Man: present perfect
October 7, 1985

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