I don’t like being “on the fringe” of most anything. If you’re on the fringe of a group of friends, you’re not really part of the core group; you just kind of hang out on the edge of things. If you’re on the fringe of a conversation, you can’t quite hear everything that’s being said. You miss a lot, and you don’t get the full story.
With Jesus, his divine power flowed to even the fringe of his robes. Sick people who put out their hands and touched his clothes were healed! All of them.
“Wherever [Jesus] went—in villages, cities, or the countryside—they brought the sick out to the marketplaces. They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.” Mark 6:56 NLT
I love this picture. These people had obviously heard about the amazing power Jesus possessed. They believed that Jesus’s divine power stretched even to the outer edge of his garments. Perhaps they’d heard about the woman who was healed, after twelve years of bleeding, when she reached out in faith and touched the hem of Jesus’ robe (Luke 8).
We all reach for Jesus most when we are in pain or difficulty. It’s only natural. There are times, in fact, when all we can do is grasp the hem of his robe. When all we can utter is, “Jesus, help!” I’m so thankful for James 4:8, which says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” It makes me think of a magnet: When I press close to God, he’s right there, pressed up close to me.
But this verse also makes me think about the many times in my everyday life when I settle for only the fringe of Jesus’ robe.
When I reach out for what I need, without stopping to visit. When I reach for him like I might reach for an Advil bottle. When I want his power. When I want his help. When I settle for the outer edge of a relationship with him rather than the fullness of his power and divinity. When I want what he has more than I want him.
I want more. I want more than just the fringe of a relationship with Jesus. I want “to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,” that I may “be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19)
In the Bible, we read numerous accounts of Jesus healing people. He speaks to them, touches them, reaches out to them. When they come to him, he has compassion. They ask for his help, his touch, his mercy. They ask him questions. They invite him to their homes for dinner. They leave everything and follow him.
I want that kind of interaction with Jesus. I want a daily, moment-by-moment relationship with him. I want to sit with him. I want to invite him in for dinner. I want to ask him questions. I want to follow him, watch him, learn of him.
When we run through life, just touching base with Jesus on a “need-to-need” basis, he never turns us away. He never says, “not this time.” He doesn’t fold his arms and say, “you only call when you need something.” But I want more. I want the close relationship. I want to really know him. I want to slow down. I want to talk to him “without ceasing” as I go about my day. I want to be filled and surrounded by his presence. I want to invite the Holy Spirit to invade my heart, my mind, my emotions, my words, my family, my home.
I’m awed by the fact that merely touching the fringe of Jesus’s robe brings healing. But I want to enter in. I want to be in the VIP room with Jesus. I want to look at him, listen to him, and commune with him. I have no interest in living on the edge of my faith. I don’t want to be on the outskirts. I want to be where the action is happening.
I want to know the One who loved me so much he died for me. I want to know that Jesus. I want to know the Jesus who, before even time began, said “Yes, I’ll give my life so she can live.” I want to reach out for the fringe of his robe today, pull myself in, look up into his face, and stay awhile.
I want more. I want all of Jesus. Don’t you?