Luke 8: 43-48: And there was a woman in the crowd who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years. She had spent everything she had on doctors. and still could find no cure. She came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped.
“Who touched me?” Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.” But Jesus told him, “No, someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.”
When the woman realized that Jesus knew, she began to tremble and fell to her knees before him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” (This same incident is written about in Matthew 9:18 -22 , Mark 5: 22 – 35)
There was a huge crowd on the shore, waiting for Jesus’ return. They had heard about the miracles and they wanted to see this mysterious man for themselves. Perhaps they would even see a miracle; perhaps many needed healing…
Multitudes followed him everywhere he went now. He was famous, and the people couldn’t get enough of him. In the midst of this crowd of adoring followers stood a unique man: a ruler, one belonging to the highest social rank in the city. Jairus needed a healer, so he ventured into the streets with the common folk to ask for Jesus’ help.
The Untouchable Woman
As the crowd pushed toward the home of Jairus, a woman managed to get close enough to Jesus to touch the hem of his robe. Unlike many of the others in the crowd, she had a real reason to approach Jesus. She had been hemorrhaging blood for years, and she wanted to be freed from the pain, misery and shame of her condition.
According to Jewish law, if she touched anyone while she had this disease, they would be defiled. Her neighbors and family had nothing to do with her for fear of this defilement. She was hated and shunned, and hopeless.
Like us, she tried everything she could think of to help her before she went to God. The text tells us she went broke paying “doctors”‘” but still no cure. (Not much has changed, huh?) The doctors of her day were pretty much one step above witch doctors. They used some herbs, some practical measures and lots of “religion” to cure patients, and it often didn’t work.
She had “heard of Jesus”‘” probably about his miracles and healing abilities ‘” and she had come that day for healing. She believed in him so strongly that all she wanted was to touch his clothing. She had faith that one touch would be enough to save her from her condition. So there she was in the midst of the throng of people, reaching out tentatively to touch his robe.
Immediately she was healed. The blood flow stopped, and she knew in her inner being that the curse was gone. She had expected this, though she had hardly dared to hope it would happen. What she didn’t expect was what came next. Jesus was on an urgent mission, yet he stopped in mid-stride and asked who touched him.
Peter was amazed at the question. It would be easier to ask, “Who didn’t touch you?” There were people all around Jesus, pressed up against him. Every one of them had surely brushed against him as the crowd surged forward. But only one touched him on purpose, with the touch of faith. As he looked around, the woman tried to shrink away, knowing he meant her ‘” but his gaze found her.
At first, she denied touching him… but then he spoke to her and she couldn’t hide. Instead, she fell at his feet and worshiped him, an appropriate response to the miracle she had experienced. If she had expected a scolding, she was amazed by His words: Jesus says her healing was a reward for her faith. Apparently, faith is the key to unlock God’s divine power and virtue in life!
But then Jesus asked something of her in return for this miracle: a public testimony to the truth of her illness and her healing. These people lived in her town. They knew her shame and were well aware of having avoided her so they would not be defiled. If she were truly healed, the crowd would know it was an act of God. So this broken, shunned woman became a witness to the entire crowd of the truth of the claims of Jesus.
I’m sure the crowd was stunned, unsure of how to respond to this miracle in their midst. One immediate result is seen in the response of Jairus. Servants came through the crowd to tell him his daughter had died while the Master was dealing with this ill woman. There was no more need for a healer. Jairus had started the journey by saying he believed Jesus could heal her and save her from death. Now he had witnessed this miracle, so when Jesus told the man to trust Him to solve the new problem, Jairus did. As a result, his daughter was brought back from dead.
So what do we learn from this passage to help us today? First, I believe the woman is all of us. We are suffering daily under the effects of an incurable illness: our sin. It weighs us down, clouds our lives and separates us from our only source of healing: God. Like her, we have probably tried every other way we could think of to find relief, but nothing else has worked.
Now we need to deal with this “healer” we have heard so much about. What will we do with Jesus? Reject him as just another flawed doctor like all the rest, or trust him as the only one with a cure? If we believe Jesus can take our sin away, and come to him as humbly as this woman, we too can be healed and made whole again.
The other great lesson we can take from this passage? In return for his miracle in our lives, Jesus asks only that we share our story with those who know us already. They have seen our past, know our struggles, and will be impacted by also seeing our cure!
The Holy Bible, The Message edition
God Came Near: Deluxe Edition, Max Lucado, Thomas Nelson, 1987