Let's start today by refreshing our memories of this wonderful passage. This story is told in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In the same chapter (we'll use Mark 5) we see Jairus' daughter being raised from the dead, and Jesus brings this suffering woman back to life, as well.
Let's dive in!
We noted last time that it would be a huge problem for the woman to get close to Jesus. It would be hard enough for a woman to work her way through a throng of people; the men would think it was far more important for them to see or hear, than to be polite and let her through.
But the other problem was that in order to get close to Him, close enough to speak or ask Him for help, she would have to touch the other people -- she would be forcing her uncleanness on them! But maybe the thoughts went through her head and she thought, I've lived this way too long. I've heard that He heals many of sicknesses and even demons . . . this may be my only chance to be healed.
As she begins to push her way closer, she can hear the people talking about Jesus, and that He is making His way to Jairus' home, to the daughter that is ill. Suddenly, to her dismay, she realizes that this Jairus is the leader of the synagogue! He is an important person; she is not. She may never get Jesus' attention now.
Inspiration strikes! Perhaps if she could just touch Him. Some say that He is the Messiah, the chosen One. Maybe she can make her way through the crowd and just touch the hem of His garment . . . yes! That is what she will do!
The picture above shows a cloak similar to what Jesus may have worn. In those days, the Jews wore cloaks with tassels on the four corners, and the tassels had a blue cord woven into it which reminded them of God's law and their duty to keep that law. Some people thought of the tassels as almost sacred, because of that . . . maybe she could touch a tassel on the hem of his garment. That would be about as far removed from actually touching Him as she could get, and her new faith spurred her into action. She slowly weaves her way through the crowd, inching closer to Him. She may have pulled her shawl closer around her face, so that her neighbors would not see that it was her. At last, she is close to Him; she is close enough to hear Jesus and Jairus talking.
Quick as a wink, she bends down low and brushes her hand against the hem of His garment.
Immediately, she feels a change in her body. Perhaps it was like a tingling sensation, like that of our limbs when they've been "asleep" and are moving again. The warmth floods her body and she knows the bleeding is stopped -- she's been healed!
Trying to contain her joy, she begins to move back out through the crowd, away from Him. No one must see her and recognize her -- they would condemn her for having touched them and made them unclean.
Imagine how her heart pounded when Jesus turned and looked behind Him.
"Who touched me?"
Everyone there believes Jesus is asking because someone must have "bumped into Him" or even "shoved" Him -- no one wants to be guilty of harming or annoying this great teacher. Peter even responds that everyone in the crowd was pressing in and crowding Him.
Ah, but the healed woman knows exactly what He means. He means her, and she knows it. She knows that she must confess.
She falls to her knees before Him, expecting to be condemned and even punished. Maybe she was even afraid that somehow the healing she has experienced will be taken from her in punishment.
So, she pleads her case to the great teacher, the One Who can save them all. She explains how desperate she was, and how driven to simply touch his garment. And she tells Him she has been healed.
Does Jesus berate her?
Does He recite from Leviticus the rules that she should have followed?
Does He embarrass her in front of the whole town?
He reaches down to her, and pulls her to her feet. He tells her tenderly, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace." (Luke 8:48)
Imagine the joy that must have flooded her soul and spilled out in praise from her lips! What a smile she must have smiled as she walked back through the crowd and made her way home!
We'll conclude our study of this woman tomorrow. We don't know her name, but we can learn so much from her!