In the synoptic gospels, we read of the woman healed from the issue of blood. While Mark and Luke give more details, Jesus confirms in each account that it was her faith that healed her. But, even before the thought came to her about touching a part of his garment, her faith was at work. Someone had told her about Jesus!
Her disorder had made her ritually unclean, which excluded her from most social contact. So for her to be in the crowd, wasn’t just some everyday, by chance occurrence, but a planned attempt to meet this healer. She could have endured very severe consequences because of her contact with others. Not to mention the physical demands of a suffering, unhealthy body.
Consider also how weak she must have been. 12 years with a bleeding affliction? Years of mostly isolation, fighting depression, spending all she had, and getting worse? What on earth could have drove her to leave the house? She was desperate! She had nothing left, and no where else to turn.
She made the best decision of her life, by leaving her comfort zone. She pushed through feeling weak, and poor, then entered the crowd! Verse 27 of Mark 5 says, “When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.” Verse 31 tells us the multitude was thronging him. Wow, what determination! (I can’t even bring myself to shop on Black Friday because of crowds!) This weak woman risked it all to get to Jesus.
What will you do to contact Jesus? What will you risk? We often let the smallest of tasks keep us from prayer and bible study. We allow the “multitude” to dictate our daily activity. We are reluctant, or often refuse, to put $5 extra in the offering plate!
Jesus will take time with you. He was on the way to Jairus’ house, to heal his daughter. This man had laid at the feet of Jesus, and cried for him to come “Lay thy hands on her”. (Mark 5:22-23) Yet, when this weak and poor, bleeding woman, humbly reached for Jesus’ garment… she was instantly healed! (Luke 8:44) Jesus stopped, even after a ruler had begged him to come to his home, and he took time to tenderly address this ‘unclean’ woman.
There is no wrong time to come to Jesus. Both of these people believed He could heal, and came to find him. But one had to wait, while the other was immediate. Our actions display how great our faith is. Jairus believed Jesus could heal, but felt he needed to beg him to touch his daughter. Yet the woman was unwilling to even touch Jesus (to risk making him unclean) and was already claiming her healing while she reached for just a thread! (Matt 9:21)
Will you enter the press to get to Jesus? Are you willing to get out of your comfort zone and spend time with him? Don’t fear. Don’t let the press intimidate you. Don’t let the press keep you from Jesus and your healing! We all get weak and tired from thronging, but determination to touch Jesus will produce the greatest reward we can imagine!
Rev. Cathleen N. Cathcart is the pastor of New Life Worship Center in Spartanburg. This is the sermon she delivered this past Sunday.