When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.
This little narrative is at once terrible, touching, and triumphant. Terrible, because of the tremendous pain the people are going through. Touching, because their faith in Jesus is so great, they come to him in droves bringing with them those they love. And triumphant, because Jesus brings healing to everybody who seeks him out.
People are going through tremendous pain even today. Over the last sixteen years I have listened to countless people telling me about the trials and tribulations they go through day after day, and it makes my soul ache. It feels like the whole world has caved in like a mine that has collapsed leaving everybody in total darkness gasping for air, wondering how long they can survive.
The only thing that stops me from despairing is the knowledge that there is a way out of the pit. It is through Jesus. It doesn’t matter how trapped we might appear to be, or how impossible the rescue might seem, Jesus can get us out into the light. There are, literally, millions of people who can testify to the truth of this. The tragedy is that billions of others do not know him. And the reason for their ignorance is that those who know Jesus keep the knowledge of him to themselves.
Years ago the prophet Hosea, speaking for God, scolded the priests and the people. “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6), he told them. God’s charge against Israel holds good for us today. Do you really believe we will not be held accountable? What do we think Jesus is gonna ask us when we meet up with him on Judgment Day? On top of the list is this question: Did you tend my lambs and sheep and feed them? (see John 21:15-19). What are we gonna say?
It is not too late. Jesus is as much present today as he was two thousand years ago in Gennesaret. Let us lead the sick to him — and not just the sick in body. Let us lead the sick in heart, the sick in mind, the sick in spirit, and the sick in soul — that’s just about the whole world — to Jesus, so that everybody can experience the healing and deliverance that he can bring them.
All they need to do is touch the fringe of his cloak.