Go in peace, said Jesus, your faith has healed you

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Jesus Christ

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

Word of Jesus’ astounding acts of healing had spread all over Galilee, even to the village where this woman lives. And she determines to find him and be healed. When his boat is spotted coming towards shore she is among the crowd waiting. When Jairus prostrates himself before Jesus begging for his daughter’s life, she is not far away. And when Jesus begins to move through the crowd toward Jairus’ house, she is not far behind.

For twelve years she has suffered from uterine bleeding and she is weak. Mark records, “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).

To reach Jesus she must push and shove and elbow her way between people when tiny openings occur. She is weak; her strength is drained, and yet she will not give up. She must reach Jesus, and so she continues to wedge her body through the crowd until she comes up behind him.
She has decided in her heart, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed” (Mark 5:28). She doesn’t want to confront him in public. She is too ashamed to admit the nature of her illness, and perhaps even be rebuked for mingling with others in her unclean state. She must do this without revealing anything. But she must touch him. She must.

Her problem is compounded by the way she is viewed by Jewish law – as ceremonially unclean. Women were normally considered unclean during their period.

“When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period. Any bed she lies on while her discharge continues will be unclean, as is her bed during her monthly period, and anything she sits on will be unclean, as during her period. Whoever touches them will be unclean.” (Leviticus 15:25-27)

Anyone who knew about her illness would shun her. She couldn’t go about in society and mingle in the marketplace with the other women, since a touch from her would make someone unclean. She couldn’t attend ceremonial occasions, or synagogue worship. And so she resorts to secrecy. She comes incognito. But she comes with determination.

Luke 8:40-49

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