My Thoughts on Christ’s Healing of the Woman With the Blood Issue

The reason Jesus and the apostles worked miraculously to heal people was primarily to produce faith that he was exactly who he claimed to be: the Son of God (John 20:30-31).  By working miracles, the gospel message was confirmed to be true (Heb. 2:1-4; Mk. 16:20).  Such is the case with the miracle under consideration in this article, a miracle we can read about in three of the four gospel accounts (Matt. 9:20-22; Mk. 5:24-34; Lk. 8:42-48).  The reader is urged to take a moment to read all three of these accounts.

The particulars of the woman’s condition are unknown.  Perhaps it was a discharge, perhaps a hemorrhage.  The text indicates she had endured this burden for twelve years.  As a Jew, this would have made her continually unclean, which would have resulted in continual humiliation and estrangement (Lev. 15:25-30), which in turn would have undoubtedly produced much loneliness and shame.  The text indicates that she had spent all of her money seeking medical treatment, only to find that the doctors of the time were unable to help her as her condition worsened.

Upon hearing about Jesus and seeing that he was nearby, the woman entered the crowds following him and came up behind him to touch the fringe of his garment, thinking, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.”  The fringe of one’s garment back then consisted of tassels which the Jews were commanded to sew onto the corners of their garments as a reminder to obey God (Num. 15:38-41).  Considering that she would have been considered unclean and thus sure that Jesus, a fellow Jew, would not want to touch her, she tried to be as unnoticeable as possible.  Undoubtedly having heard of Christ’s miraculous power, she felt that healing would come if she could be as discreet as possible and just touch one tassel on the corner of his garment.  Stop for a moment and consider the amount of faith it took to believe that simply touching a small portion of Jesus’ clothes without his knowledge would be enough to heal her.

Her faith was instantly recognized and rewarded.  The flow of blood immediately dried up, and she could feel inside her body that the disease had left her.  Although it appears she was healed without any conscious thought on Jesus’ part, I personally believe he knew exactly what was going on and had known all along (cf. John 2:24-25).  Jesus, being all knowing, recognized the faith of this woman and thus blessed her with healing.

The text says that Jesus could perceive in himself “that power had gone out from him,” causing him to turn in the crowd and ask, “Who touched my garments?”  Again, being omniscient, Jesus asked this not out of a desire to obtain information, nor was he upset.  After all, he had healed the woman.  He surely knew which woman in the crowd before him had just been healed.  I believe he wished for the woman to come forward and acknowledge what he had done for her in the hearing of the crowd.  Again, the primary purpose of miracles was to produce faith, and I’m sure he wanted everyone else in the crowd to have the same level of faith in him which she had.  Such would result in more praise and servitude for Jehovah.

Initially everyone denied it.  The disciples, showing that they still had a ways to go when it came to their spiritual growth and maturing, seemed to almost ridicule their Master’s question.  Peter in particular showed that his own faith in his Lord’s abilities still needed growth by indicating that it would be impossible to know who had touched him since they were in the middle of a jostling multitude.  However, the woman herself knew that the game was up and she had been discovered.  As Jesus continued to insist that somebody had touched him because he had felt power leave him, she came forward.

The Bible says she did so “in fear and trembling.”  Maybe she thought the Lord would be angry with her for touching him and thus making him unclean by Mosaic standards.  Perhaps she was afraid she had acted out of turn and would get her dreaded disease back.  Maybe she thought he would ask her to explain her erstwhile condition to the whole crowd, something that would have been mortifying to any woman (or man).  Nevertheless, she still told the truth in spite of her fear.  She soon found out there was no reason for her to be afraid.  Instead of blaming her, Jesus commended her and her faith in front of the whole crowd.  She in turn was humble enough before the Christ to explain to all around why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.  Probably recognizing how scared she was, Jesus compassionately alled her “daughter” and told her to “take heart.”  It was her faith which had made her whole.  He said this in front of everyone around and therefore did her another favor by letting the crowd know that she was now clean and did not have to be an outcast from society anymore.

Thus, her faith was revealed to all present.  The miracle was made known and the reason behind the miracle was accomplished.  Jesus was proven to be the Son of God.

All of us suffer.  Sometimes we might want to blame God.  This woman encourages me to do the opposite.  She reminds me that I must look upwards to God and look forward to heaven.  My home is not here in the land of war, turmoil, strife, and high housing and gas prices.  There is something better waiting (Rom. 8:18).  Her humility motivates me to work to be the same, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are spiritually impoverished (Matt. 5:3).  She knew Jesus was in charge and thus could help her.  I need to be reminded at times that God is in charge and I must depend on him instead of myself, my political ideology, my bank account, my doctor or physical therapist, or anything else in this life.  She also reminds me that I need to stop getting so involved in myself and my own problems and perceptions.  There will always be someone else — many people, in fact — who have far worse problems than me.  Just as she needed the compassion and care of Jesus, there are those in my life who need my care and compassion, even though I cannot heal them.

I’m glad the Spirit included this woman’s story in the scriptural canon.  She has helped me change my perspective on some things.  Thank you for reading my thoughts about her.  I hope they have encouraged and helped you in your walk with Christ just as they have helped me.

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