Prayer garments and healing

In Numbers 15, God instructs Moses and the people to put tassels on the corner of their garments.

Numbers 9:37-41: The LORD said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. 39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. 40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. 41 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God.’ “

The point of the tassels was to look at and have something physical to remember the commands of God by – to be constantly reminded to live as God made them to live.

In Malachi, one of the Old Testament prophets, there is a prophecy about the coming of the Messiah

4:2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.

Interestingly, the word for ‘wings’ is the same Hebrew word that was used for the corners of the garments.

So Jesus arrives, and people are saying that he is starting to fulfil the prophecies of the Old Testament. There is a crowd gathered round him. Jesus is on his way to raise to life the daughter of a local ruler, when a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years came up behind him and touched Jesus’ cloak. Instantly she was healed (Matt 9).

Oh yes, as a Jewish man who observed the OT law, Jesus would have been wearing the prayer shawl – the garment with the tassels. The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.

Some points from the links:

  • She belived he would be the Messiah
  • She knew the scriptures and acted upon them, to her reward
  • The use of a physical garment as a reminder (and sign) of God’s commands acted as a sign to her as well as a reminder to the person wearing it.
  • The Old Testament really fits together well

Thanks to Rob Bell for this!

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