No one I know likes physical pain! Billions of dollars are spent in the healthcare industry to help people manage pain. Pain management centers are popping up everywhere and there are no shortages of patients flocking to them. We tend to tell others about remedies for pain and discomfort.
People did the same when Jesus was on the earth. The word had spread that Jesus could heal. We see people coming to Jesus for healing and deliverance from all sorts of illnesses. Today our attention is on the healing of an unnamed woman who had suffered for twelve long years. She came for physical healing but God gave her so much more! Please read Luke 8:41-48.
The Woman’s Suffering
This woman weakened from twelve years of bleeding from what was likely a gynecological condition, had obviously heard that Jesus could heal. Desperate, she made her way through an enormous crowd to reach Jesus. See how Mark describes her status in Mark 5:26, “…and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better but rather grew worse.”
To add to her plight, she was likely ostracized by both family and community because of her perpetual ceremonially unclean state for twelve years! According to Leviticus 15:19-30, a woman having a discharge of blood was considered ceremonially unclean and anyone who touched her would be unclean until evening. Being unclean would bar one from going to the synagogue or temple and touching other people. As a female, can you imagine that for twelve years?
The Woman’s Desperate Action of Faith
Given the personal nature of such an illness and the ceremonially unclean status that was taken very seriously by the Jews, there was no way the woman was going to call out to Jesus loudly and publicly or approach him face to face. She came “from behind”, according to Luke 8:44. Maybe she thought she could get her healing and slip away in obscurity.
The woman had faith that if she could just touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, she would be healed. Was this true faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord? Or a faith like some who believe that there is healing in cloths that have touched the Lord, the disciples, or other religious leaders. Whatever the level of her faith, it was enough to get Jesus’ full attention and response. “…for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
The Woman’s Healing
The very second she touched Jesus’ garment; the woman was healed from this horrible condition! The flow of blood stopped immediately (Luke 8:44). As a woman I rejoice with her even 2,000 years later!
The Woman’s Real Deliverance
Any thoughts of getting her healing and slipping back home while remaining cloaked by the crowd were dispelled immediately. Before she could enjoy the instantaneous cessation of bleeding, Jesus publicly cries out “Who touched Me?” Can you imagine the fear that gripped her heart? Jesus clearly knew who had touched Him and drew upon His power for healing. Jesus had a far better deliverance for the woman than just physical healing! When Jesus said to the woman, “Daughter be of good cheer, your faith has made you well. Go in peace”, He was saying a lot more than being well physically! Jesus used her confession to release her from the guilt of breaking the ceremonial law by touching Him. She knew Jesus and now everyone else would know her sin. She came to Him trembling and falling down before Him according to Luke 8:47. He allowed her to meet face to face with the object of true faith, the true and living God. Jesus helped her give a public testimony of her faith in Him. Our faith in the Lord grows and solidifies as we testify of His work in our lives. His public acceptance and broadcasting of her healing likely helped her regain social status. Most of all, Jesus healed her spiritually. John MacArthur gives commentary that being “made well” in the NT brings the meaning of being saved from sin. This is highly suggestive that her faith led to spiritual salvation as well as physical healing. I would say, she had a good day that day, a very good day!
Applications for Us
Bring your faith, no matter how tiny to Jesus. He knows how to enlarge it! See your trials as opportunities to get to know Jesus more face to face. God can use sufferings to enlarge us, make us better and prepare us for His use. If you are not certain of your salvation, call out to Jesus, “touch the hem of His garment”. Romans 10:13 says, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Say aloud or write down your personal application today, will you?