Touching Jesus Makes You Holy

The Christian life consists of continually coming to Jesus with faith and laying hold of him.

God spoke to Moses about the consecrated altar. “The altar shall be most holy. Whatever touches the altar shall become holy” (Exod. 29:37b). Concerning the table in the tabernacle, the altar of incense, the lampstand, and utensils, God said, “You shall also consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them will become holy.” (Exod. 30:29). God’s holy place was filled with holy things that existed to make a holy people.

 

In the Old Testament, the place where God chose to meet with his people was a place of contagious holiness. It was so supercharged with holiness that merely touching the very instruments of worship in the tabernacle would make a person holy.

God spoke to Moses about the consecrated altar. “The altar shall be most holy. Whatever touches the altar shall become holy” (Exod. 29:37b). Concerning the table in the tabernacle, the altar of incense, the lampstand, and utensils, God said, “You shall also consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them will become holy.” (Exod. 30:29). God’s holy place was filled with holy things that existed to make a holy people. In fact, after giving Moses the instructions regarding the tabernacle, God identified himself as, “the LORD who sanctifies you” (i.e. makes you holy, Exod. 31:13b).

This infectious holiness also extended to the garments of God’s priests:

And when they go out into the outer court to the people, they shall put off the garments in which they have been ministering and lay them in the holy chambers. And they shall put on other garments, lest they transmit holiness to the people with their garments. (Ezek. 44:19; emphasis mine)

The holy people of God could transmit the holiness of God to those outside merely through touch! These realities shed light on a familiar story in the gospels.

Laying Hold of Jesus

On one occasion as Jesus was passing through a crowd of people, a desperate woman grabbed hold of his garment. This woman “had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse” (Mark 5:25–26) When she heard that Jesus was in town, she said to herself, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well” (Mark 5:28). Amid the clamoring crowd, the poor woman gathered enough courage to wiggle her way near the Lord and touch him.

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