Jesus quickly gained a reputation as a healer; which in turn quickly enhanced his popularity. We can understand that. Soon, wherever he went, large crowds gathered. In the crowd on one occasion, was a woman who had struggled with a bleeding problem for twelve years. Mark describes her plight: 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. – Mark 5:26
This poor woman’s illness was quite debilitating and touched every area of her life. She was obviously unwell physically, and financially destitute. Mark is scathing in his criticism of the treatment she received from her doctors. They did nothing for her problem but happily charged for their services. Her particular illness meant she was ritually unclean, isolated from others and unable to attend public worship. What a toll this must have taken on her, mentally and emotionally. In desperation, she turned to Jesus. He was her last hope.
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. vs. 27-29
What a relief! Her physical affliction was over! Our story doesn’t finish there. As we focus on the impact these encounters have on the people who met Jesus, we easily forget that these events touched him as well. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” vs. 30
Jesus’ compassion for others and his willingness to give himself freely came at a cost; even before the cross. He was fully human; and shared with us the common response to busyness and a lifestyle that saw him constantly giving out. He became tired, hungry and thirsty. And at times sad, frustrated and angry. Ministry has its costs. These things have to be managed. Jesus saw this too as an opportunity.
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.” vs. 33, 34
That day, the woman received more than she bargained for – in a good way! I’m sure she would have happily settled for physical healing when, on impulse, she reached out to touch Jesus’ cloak. She received in addition: recognition for her faith, acceptance by Jesus and a blessing from him. And of course, social restoration and a return to her community of faith. Surely this was the best day of her life!
As it was for us when we met Jesus and experienced his touch of healing and acceptance.
Father, we thank you that we find our need for forgiveness, acceptance, healing and restoration beautifully met when we come in faith to Jesus. Accept our thanks from grateful hearts today we pray. Use us as your hands, feet and mouth to offer these expressions of your compassion to those around us, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen
SONG: He Touched Me by Gaither Vocal Band – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m–ptwd_iI