A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Mark 5:24-34 tells a story of a woman who had suffered a tremendous amount. It had been twelve long years of suffering. This disease was only getting worse, every dime had been spent in an effort to find a cure, there was none. No physician or amount of medicine was helping or would help. All hope was beginning to fade and the future looked bleak. The Bible does not tell us her name or her back story. However, from the little information that we are given, we know that she had come to a point in her life where she was desperate and out of options. This is a story of not only suffering, but faith and courage. This woman seeks out the one whom she has not only heard has healed many but believes it to be true. Her pursuit of Christ gives us a picture of what it means to be driven by our faith and to hang on to God’s faithfulness.
There are three main lessons that I wish to highlight from this story.
- To be desperate for God’s help
- Our faith is to be rooted in Christ’s power to work out any trial we face
- God lovingly welcomes us when we come to Him.
Come to God in Desperate need of Him
Scripture tell us that she had gone through all the options that one had to find a cure to her disease. The account in Mark says she had
“suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.”
During this time period, it was common practice for those who were diagnosed with difficult medical cases, to consult with numerous different doctors. They would undergo many forms of treatments and the supposed cures were often very abusive and would lead to the patient feeling worse then before. This woman was so desperate that she not only went to so many different doctors but spent all of her money to find a cure. The account in Luke 8:43 suggested that the woman could not be helped because her condition was incurable. She was left feeling hopeless and desperate to find an answer. There was literally nothing that could humanly be done to help her and from a human standpoint, she was out of options.
It was only until she had heard about Jesus coming that she became aware that this would be her last and final attempt at being made well.
“She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment.”
The passage tell us that there was a large crowd of people. This woman, on the point of death, who was most likely physically and emotionally exhausted, pushed through a crowd of people to get to Him. There was a sense of desperation to get to Jesus because of her faith that only He could bring her the hope that she was looking for.
Her eager attempt to push her way through the crowd was a true picture of someone who is in desperate need of Christ. The true lesson is not in our own ability to bring a solution to the trials we face, it is in coming to God with a hear that longs and yearns for Christ to come in and fill the void, sadness, or hardships that we go through. It is crying out as the Psalmist did in chapter 63:1.
“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
This is a cry of desperation and longing for God. Furthermore, a desperate heart for God hangs on to the truth fond in Psalm 62:8 “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” We know that when we come to God, desperate and open, we can also trust Him fully with our lives and find rest in the one who is our true refuge.
Our Faith is to be rooted in Christ’s power to work out any trial we face
Verse 28 tells us that her faith was so deeply rooted in Christ’s power to save her from her trial,
“For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well”
The one and only true source of where our faith can truly be placed, is in Christ. As a human, the common thing to do when you’re sick, is turn to medicine and make a doctors appointment. We go there expecting a clear answer to why we are feeling sick and a cure to our ailment. There is almost a a sense of hope that is placed in the doctor. I am not against modern day medicine at all, I come from a family that is filled with doctors and pharmacists. The point here is that ultimately despite her diagnosis, her faith was set on the one who knows her biological make up better then any doctor. God is the creator of our human bodies and knows exactly what we need.
This woman recognized that despite her best efforts to get help from many doctors, Christ was the true source that could help her through this difficult trial. Whenever we are faced with a situation that seems almost impossible to face, we are sometimes driven to look to other things to bring us a solution or peace to our circumstance. This woman’s faith was so strong that notice how in verse 28, she mentions touching his garments, not even Christ himself. She believed that in Christ’s unlimited power that her words held no doubt that if she touched Christ’s clothes, she would be made well. The main lesson here does not lie in the outcome of her faith. This woman could not foresee the future. The Bible does not tell us that her faith predicted the future. What scripture does tell us is that her faith was so strong that she knew her answers lied with Christ. The end goal was to turn to Christ and look to Him for strength regardless of the outcome.
God lovingly welcomes His Children
When she was confronted with the fact that Jesus had asked who had touched Him, He was not asking because He did not know, He was beckoning her to come to Him. Jesus is all knowing and sovereign, yet He still wants us to come to Him with an open heart. He wants to hear us pour out our hearts, it is indication that we trust Him when we come with our burdens and joys. Her approach to Him is described as being fearful and notice how the text says that she “fell down before him and told him the whole truth” (vs 33).
Her admission to touching His garments is so much deeper then the physical. It also shows us a picture of what a true, repentant sinner looks like when being convicted of their sin. She makes no excuse, she does not try to run, she comes and surrenders it all to Him. Surrendering our sin, anxieties and worries about life is not a natural human reaction. We tend to come kicking and screaming before God, as a last resort because our own attempts have failed. Regardless of our attitude, when we finally plead for God’s help, His response is always filled with Grace towards His children. Here he looks at this woman and lovingly says,
“Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed for your disease”
She is not only cleansed physically but in that moment has experienced salvation in her life.
You too have that same opportunity to come before God and surrender it all to Him. Like this woman, you try and live life your own way, rejecting that there is a God who has been there along. The God who loves you and paid the penalty for our sin by dying a painful death so that we would not have to. If we choose to place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the one who has the answer to life’s struggles and our reason to experience joy. He also looks at us and in the same way says
“Daughter or Son, your faith has made you well”.