Have you ever been wounded to the point that recovery seems impossible? Have you been so emotionally scarred that you see no hope for healing? Have you made a decision that haunts you to this day? At some point in life we have had one of those experiences, and regardless of our situation, we all have felt similar emotions while on our own journey. Hopelessness, discouragement, self-doubt, self-pity, self-indulgence, these have kept us in hiding, paralyzed and focused on ourselves.
The woman in Matthew 8, Mark 5, and Luke 8 is said to have had a blood disorder for twelve years. She consulted many doctors, was prescribed many remedies and yet the condition grew worse. For twelve years: she spent everything she had, and put all hope and faith into the ones who were supposed to be equipped to heal her. However, they were either confounded, or they were taking advantage of her, either way they failed her.
According to the law of the day, a woman with this type of blood disorder was considered unclean, which meant that she could have no human contact and must live separate from the rest of the community. The Bible does not explain the cause of her problem. Some scholars speculate that she was a prostitute who contracted a venereal disease, some say she may have been a housewife and mom who had cervical cancer. Whatever the cause, she found herself hopeless and alone.
One day word came that Jesus was coming to town. She finally gave up on her own attempts at being made whole; she dismissed the experts and their diagnoses and decided to pursue Jesus. What an incredible journey - from her home to the hem of His garment. The moment she stepped outside, she was committing a crime that was punishable by death.The Bible says there were throngs of people around Jesus; crowds of people trying to get face time with Him. Even while she was weakened by sickness she kept her eye on the prize. She pushed past the overwhelming amount of people she had to navigate through. She was pushed, shoved, pulled, and trampled by others in pursuit of Jesus. She had to have been crawling at the point she touched His tunic.
Jesus knew that someone had reached out in faith. She was made well! He asked, “Who touched me?” She was probably expecting Him to react harshly, or condemn her for being in public. However, instead He turned and responded to her by calling her “daughter.” He had to have known the journey she was on. He had to have understood the reason for the condition she was in. How does He respond? He speaks to her identity and includes her in His family. He says that her faith is what made her whole.
Jesus was surrounded by crowds of people who were needing/wanting something from Him. This woman who was “unclean” possessed no legal right to be in a position to have an encounter with Jesus; yet she was the one who caught His attention. What if the crowd had recognized the woman with the need? What if they had cleared the path to Jesus, instead of being another obstacle for the woman to overcome?
I think many people find themselves on both sides of the story. We can be the person who is perpetually afflicted by guilt, shame, sickness, and sin; or we can be the person standing in the way of those who are broken and searching for Life. The great news is, regardless of which side you happen to be on, Jesus is still in the middle and He is still the answer.
Yes, I have my blood hemorrhaging moments in life. We all do. I have had seasons, and will probably have more where I just need people to get out of my way and let me get to Jesus. However, when I am on the other side of my healing and in my daily pursuit, I want to be the person in the crowd who sees those who are currently walking through their moments, and rally those in the crowd to help clear the straightest path to the One who will accept them, love them, and heal their broken hearts.