Within a crowd gathered around, pressing in on Jesus, we are told that there was “a woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse” (Mark 5:25-26), and she pushed through the crowd, thinking, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well” (v.28).
Though the symptoms may not have been the same, I’m sure that many of you have experienced or have had someone close to you experience the kind of frustration that this woman had experienced – your body is tormenting you, and you go to the doctor, and the treatment for the torment is nearly as torturous as the infirmity, and nothing seems to help. And we know that in this particular instance the social stigma must have been awful for this woman to endure – the condition would have rendered her continuously unclean under the Levitical law, shutting her off from the worship of God and the fellowship of her friends (Leviticus 15:25-27). Twelve years of pain and weakness, stigma and separation. And the doctors only made it worse.
Then she hears about Jesus. She hears that He has healed people. So in desperation, she fights the crowds to get near Him, and she thinks if she can just touch His garment, surely she will be healed. So she covertly touches His garment, and the healing is so immediate and so powerful that not only does she know instantly that she is healed, but Jesus, in that same instant, feels that healing power has gone out from Him.
Jesus turns around and says, “Who touched my garments?” (v.30). And the disciples think he’s lost his mind: “This crowd is pushing in all around you, and you say, ‘Who touched me?’” But Jesus knows, and the woman comes forward in fear and trembling. She thinks she’s in trouble – she thinks she has gone too far. She’s ashamed of her body and its affliction. She thinks she has imposed inappropriately on Jesus.
The woman falls down before Jesus and tells Him the whole truth. But Jesus isn’t angry. Jesus is impressed by the faith of this suffering woman – “And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well’” (v.34).
Don’t ever be ashamed to come to Jesus. So many people are afraid that if they make that move – if they reach out to the Savior – they’ll be met with condemnation or revulsion or criticism. They are ashamed of who they are or what they’ve done, and they are afraid of rejection. You are not going to find rejection from the one who said, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
The King James Version identifies the suffering woman in this account as having “an issue of blood”. Well, we all have our “issues”. And anyone who brings their issues to Jesus in faith with a humble heart will be met with compassion. And may we, the followers of Jesus, follow His example when such folks come to us.
~ Matt Kinnell
NHIM Board Chair