A Woman Gets More Than She Bargained For
In the Bible book of Mark, chapter 5, there is a story told about a woman who had an issue of blood (i.e. a hemorrhage of some sort). The Bible says that she tried doctors for 12 years and had spent all that she had in order to fix this condition. Nothing changed. Imagine, if you will, having a major disease or condition for 12 years and it only getting worse. Many of you don’t have to imagine, you live with pain every day. You live each day fighting off discouragement, depression and hopelessness. Sickness has a way of sapping us of hope and courage. I imagine this woman was at the end of her rope and maybe thought all hope was lost — until she heard about Jesus.
The story tells us that Jesus is on his way to heal a daughter of a man Jairus. Jairus had a desperate situation and Jesus was going to help him. I imagine that Jairus was pretty estatic that Jesus was going to come heal his daughter. However, this lady causes an interruption.
The Bible says that she thought to herself that if she could just touch the hem of Jesus’ garment that she would be made well. That’s faith. So, she pressed through the thick crowd in order to touch the hem of His garment. Sure enough, she was healed. It’s a great story and a motivator to all of us that faith in Jesus can change our situations. It’s a story I’ve used in sermons over and over again.
Notice that in Mark 5, the Bible says that Jesus stopped and asked who had touched Him. He said that because He felt power go out from His body and knew that someone had put a demand on His power and anointing. The crowd was pressing in on Jesus. His disciples thought it a strange question considering that a throng of people were pressing in on Jesus. Think of this: walking in downtown New York City in the midst of all the people. You are being touched and brushed up against all the time. You just go with the flow of the crowd because the crowd is moving you along. But then you feel power go out from your body and you know that something different has just taken place. That’s sort of what happened here. Jesus knew that someone had touched him with faith.
After Jesus asks who touched him, the woman, trembling and fearful, came forth and told Him what had happened.
Here’s a question for us to ponder: why was she afraid and trembling? Was she afraid Jesus would be mad? Was she afraid she would lose her healing? Was it simply due to the experience of the moment realizing that she actually was healed? She got what she had believed for. Is it possible that she was afraid that Jesus was going to be mad because she touched him? According to the Law of the Old Testament, under which she and Jesus were living, she was unclean. Anyone or anything that she touched would have been unclean. According to the law of her day, she wouldn’t have been allowed to touch Jesus. Not to mention the fact that she was a woman reaching out and touching a respected rabbi (teacher). Could it be that she thought she was in great trouble?
What’s very interesting to me is the fact that Jesus looks at her and calls her daughter. He doesn’t know her. He doesn’t know what type of lady she was. We don’t know anything about her past or who she was. It’s possible that Jesus had never seen her before. Was she an observant Jew or a “sinner”? However, He still called her daughter, a term of endearment.
How different Jesus is from some of today’s Christians. He didn’t do a background check on her to see if she was worthy of a healing. He didn’t check her tithing or attendance records. He didn’t ask her to fill out an application. He didn’t ask about her past. He just healed her. Actually, He didn’t actually heal her per se. Her faith in Him healed her. But Jesus went beyond her physical healing. He gave her something else that she needed: identity and relationship.
She was looking for a physical healing and rightly so as she needed one. Jesus gave her a relationship. He didn’t take away her healing because she had a legitimate need for physical healing. But, she had a much deeper need for relationship. Remember that according to the Law, her hemorrhage would have made her unclean. Anyone who touched her would have been unclean. She may have been ostracized by her family and friends. We don’t know. Anyone who touched her would have been unclean. By her touching Jesus He would have been made unclean. But when something unclean touches Jesus, He ends up making it clean.
Not only did she become clean by touching Jesus, she also gets the identity of daughter. Jesus came to show us who the Father really is. Jesus is the total embodiment of God in fleshly form. Jesus just didn’t call her daughter……God called her daughter.
Again, this is a bit different than our churches today because she didn’t take the Roman’s Road, repeat a sinner’s prayer, walk down an aisle, shake the preacher’s hand or get baptized. She simply had faith that Jesus was able to help her, and He did. What would our world look like today if Christians would just realize that Jesus wants to help people? What if we began to see people’s needs, met them and then call them son or daughter? What if we began to give people identity as the object of God’s affection instead of making them feel that they are the objects of God’s wrath? What if we look at people with compassion instead of judgment?
What if we were willing to allow our plans to be interrupted, like Jesus did, in order to show one person that they are worthy of God’s love and attention because God wants to call them son or daughter? What if we calmed people’s fears by showing them compassion and love?
So, the point of this story is that Jesus wants to meet our needs, but more importantly He wants to establish a relationship with us. He wants to call you son or daughter. That is really awesome. He isn’t looking for servants or slaves. He is looking for sons and daughters. Wow, what a powerful, life-changing moment . . . to be a son or daughter of God. She touched the hem of His garment for a physical healing; He touched her heart for an eternal relationship.