2 Samuel 18:9-10,14,24-25,30-19:3
Absalom happened to run into some of David’s followers. Absalom was riding a mule and the mule passed under the thick branches of a great oak. Absalom’s head caught fast in the oak and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule he was riding went on. Someone saw this and told Joab. ‘I have just seen Absalom’ he said ‘hanging from an oak.’ Joab took three lances in his hand and thrust them into Absalom’s heart while he was still alive there in the oak tree.
David was sitting between the two gates. The lookout had gone up to the roof of the gate, on the ramparts; he looked up and saw a man running all by himself. The watch called out to the king and told him. The king said, ‘If he is by himself, he has good news to tell.’ The king told the man, ‘Move aside and stand there.’ He moved aside and stood waiting.
Then the Cushite arrived. ‘Good news for my lord the king!’ cried the Cushite. ‘The Lord has vindicated your cause today by ridding you of all who rebelled against you.’ ‘Is all well with young Absalom?’ the king asked the Cushite. ‘May the enemies of my lord the king’ the Cushite answered ‘and all who rebelled against you to your hurt, share the lot of that young man.’
The king shuddered. He went up to the room over the gate and burst into tears, and weeping said, ‘My son Absalom! My son! My son Absalom! Would I had died in your place! Absalom, my son, my son!’ Word was brought to Joab, ‘The king is now weeping and mourning for Absalom.’ And the day’s victory was turned to mourning for all the troops, because they learned that the king was grieving for his son. And the troops returned stealthily that day to the town, as troops creep back ashamed when routed in battle.
When Jesus had crossed in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered round him and he stayed by the lakeside. Then one of the synagogue officials came up, Jairus by name, and seeing him, fell at his feet and pleaded with him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter is desperately sick. Do come and lay your hands on her to make her better and save her life.’ Jesus went with him and a large crowd followed him; they were pressing all round him.
Now there was a woman who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years; after long and painful treatment under various doctors, she spent all she had without being any the better for it, in fact, she was getting worse. She had heard about Jesus, and she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his cloak. ‘If I can touch even his clothes,’ she had told herself ‘I shall be well again.’ And the source of the bleeding dried up instantly, and she felt in herself that she was cured of her complaint. Immediately aware that power had gone out from him, Jesus turned round in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ His disciples said to him, ‘You see how the crowd is pressing round you and yet you say, “Who touched me?”’ But he continued to look all round to see who had done it. Then the woman came forward, frightened and trembling because she knew what had happened to her, and she fell at his feet and told him the whole truth. ‘My daughter,’ he said ‘your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be free from your complaint.’
While he was still speaking some people arrived from the house of the synagogue official to say, ‘Your daughter is dead: why put the Master to any further trouble?’ But Jesus had overheard this remark of theirs and he said to the official, ‘Do not be afraid; only have faith.’ And he allowed no one to go with him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. So they came to the official’s house and Jesus noticed all the commotion, with people weeping and wailing unrestrainedly. He went in and said to them, ‘Why all this commotion and crying? The child is not dead, but asleep.’ But they laughed at him. So he turned them all out and, taking with him the child’s father and mother and his own companions, he went into the place where the child lay. And taking the child by the hand he said to her, ‘Talitha, kum!’ which means, ‘Little girl, I tell you to get up.’ The little girl got up at once and began to walk about, for she was twelve years old. At this they were overcome with astonishment, and he ordered them strictly not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.
Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?”
Are we getting Jesus’ attention enough to make him turn around and ask, “Who touched me”? Often, we wait for a sign from God as proof that he is listening to our prayers. But how about taking the proactive approach of trying to reach out to Jesus instead? So how can we touch even his sleeve?
This brings to mind one of my fondest experiences and encounters with our Lord Jesus Christ. During my Prayer Experience Retreat in 2016 held at the Catholic Spirituality Centre, during a meditative session of Lectio Divina contemplation, I was taken to the scene of Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46) where I discovered I was a bystander, sitting by the roadside just like the blind man, waiting expectantly for Jesus to walk by. When he finally did, there was a throng, so I quickly followed the crowd and tried desperately to squeeze my way in, trying as best as I could to get near Jesus. I felt a bit like a star struck teenager hoping to get up close and personal with her superstar idol. When I finally came up close to him, I was breathless, and I boldly held his hand. Ladies, if you can still remember that moment when you first held your boyfriend’s hand, you’ll know how it felt – it’s like zing! I was ecstatic and I didn’t want to let go of his hand ever. Now when I think about it, I’m so glad Jesus didn’t turn around and ask “Who touched me” or “Who is holding my hand?” And this is the story of how I met Jesus face to face and how I fell madly in love with him ever since. Just like Bartimaeus, I had ditched my cloak of spiritual blindness behind me, upon meeting Jesus.
Following that in the next scene, I found myself hanging off a rocky cliff but Jesus was holding on to me with an outstretched hand. I remember asking him not to let go of me especially because I have a great fear of heights. He reassured me saying, “I will never let go of you.”
Brothers and sisters, how apt it is for Jesus to put us in the most vulnerable position so that we can cling on to him and for him to tell us that he will never ditch us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Cynthia Chew)
Prayer: O my Jesus, may you allow us to touch the fringe of your frock so that we can believe. Please remove any spiritual blindness that may be preventing us from seeing how you are healing and comforting us, what you are doing in our lives.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for all the things you’ve done and are about to do for us, even for the things we don’t yet know or understand.