When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around Him while He was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at His feet. He pleaded earnestly with Him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put Your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around Him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 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. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.”
Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against You,” His disciples answered, “and yet You can ask, ‘Who touched me?’” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.
Then the woman knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at His feet and, trembling with fear, told Him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:24-34, NIV)
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I can’t help but think of all the wonderful women in my life when I read this passage.
I weep when I think of the turmoil this disease must have cost this woman. Not just the physical toil of bleeding but also the emotional hurt. Shunned by society, always unclean. Taken advantage of by doctors while trying everything and anything for some relief.
It would probably have been hard to have true friendship - and definitely not a husband. Her heart must have ached with loneliness and longing. She was used to not being cared for which might explain her way of approaching Jesus.
He was just passing through, on his way to perform another healing. She didn’t want to stop him, probably seeing that He was walking with purpose and already being slowed down by the crowd.
She wanted to go unnoticed. She didn’t want the attention. She was embarrassed but knew that He was her last shot.
“If I just touch His clothes…”
“If I can just get near enough, if I could just touch His cloak, not even His hand as to bother Him or have Him notice me. Just touch His clothes, then I will be free from this bondage. I must get through. I must get close enough...”
Her thoughts and her faith pressed her on through the tremendous crowd. Just one among thousands, seeking favor and then to disappear again. She recognized that Jesus had the power to heal. She did not lose hope after so many had failed her, but instead, pressed on one more time with the faith to believe it possible that her suffering would end once and for all.
But Jesus notices.
The moment His God-given power was used for freedom, He could feel it. And He did not want God to go unnoticed.
Sometimes we are given such freedom from strongholds that have gripped us for so long, that even our bones seem new. This woman was new and whole. She could feel the healing deep inside her soul.
When Jesus asked, “Who touched me?”, she was compelled to respond. Maybe she wanted to go about her healing honestly, unlike the doctors who stole from her, she could not steal from Jesus. But Jesus gives freely. He is not like the doctors, he would not ask her to pay Him for His gift. Jesus would be the only one to pay for the cost of her healing. She had nothing to fear.
Here, Jesus was intimately personal. He wished to validate her faith, her act, and her person. This is a miracle of recognition. Jesus desired to recognize her and the One who healed her. He desired to lift up her face and free her spirit as well.
I love that the woman was open about everything that had happened. She could have easily been punished for touching Him while being unclean. She faced ridicule as she opened up about her problem. She could have let the possibility of embarrassment keep her quiet and therefore keep quiet the work of Christ in her life. But in her faith, she glorified God.
Sometimes we are afraid to share what Jesus has done for us. We are embarrassed by our sin or ashamed of who we were. But Jesus deserves the recognition. He is so kind as to recognize us in our hurt and to call us out, that we are urged to glorify Him with our stories.
So where do we need to recognize God’s power to change us? What are we struggling with today that we shouldn’t be ashamed to come to Christ for help? Consider being bold enough to ask for wholeness in Jesus. He is never too busy for us. Even as He was on His way to help another, He stopped and recognized a woman who just touched Him in a crowd. He sees you, and He desires for you to see Him too.
Where has He already touched our souls that we need to share with others? Are we more embarrassed about our past or more thankful for the grace of God? Share your story today - not to show how much faith you have, but to glorify the work of Christ in your life. Today, declare His name.
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Kate, Declare Glory