In the gospels, there are many stories of Jesus healing people and performing miracles. So numerous are the accounts that the John tells us if they were all written, “even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written”. Some of Jesus’ miracles, however, are recorded in all the gospels and while they are brief accounts, they hold a wealth of revelation. One account is that of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. Jesus turned, saw her and said, “Take heart, daughter… your faith has healed you.” [Matthew 8:31]
Receive healing from the Lord.
Three gospels tell the story of this particular woman. The account is found is Matthew 9:18-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:42-47. Matthew has the briefest account simply telling us that the woman had been bleeding for twelve years when she reached out and touched Jesus’ hem believing she would be healed as she did. Jesus turned, saw her, affirmed her and she was healed.
When we reach out to Jesus, when we touch him just the lightest bit, He turns and sees us. He affirms us, He affirms our faith and He heals us immediately.
Mark tells us a bit more about the background of the woman’s suffering. 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”. Luke’s account also adds that “no one could heal her.” This woman spent all she had, she gave everything up in hope of alleviating her suffering. How devastated she must have been as each treatment failed, as each doctor she entrusted her health to failed to restore it. She used all she had hoping to make herself better, but instead she grew worse. When she touched Jesus, however, she “felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” The payment for this? She acknowledged her situation and with fear and trembling, confessed the truth of her situation to Jesus. Then He said to her, Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Who do we trust most with our wellbeing and hopes? Do we entrust these to others, to research, to ourselves? Do we dare confess our sufferings to Jesus, relinquish our way of fixing things, and allow Him to free us from our suffering?
Luke gives more information about what happened after the woman touched Jesus’ cloak. Jesus stopped what he was doing and asked, “Who touched me?” The disciples said they did not, and Peter even tries to explain to Jesus that everyone is crowding and pressing against Him. Yet Jesus is persistent. He says, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” He knew who had touched Him, but He did not call her out immediately. Jesus gave the woman opportunity to step out in her faith and proclaim it. The passage continues with the woman realising she could not go unnoticed. She falls at the feet of Jesus and declares her testimony in the presence of the crowd that was there – that she, having suffered so many years with none who could heal her, had been healed instantly upon touching Jesus’ cloak.
Jesus notices our coming to Him, even when it is unnoticed by others. However, He also shows us opportunities to declare our testimonies to others. Faith is personal, but it is also for sharing.
One woman came to Jesus and was healed, affirmed in her faith, and given opportunity to share what God had done for her. One woman defied laws that would have marked her unclean amongst the crowd and a contaminant. She could have been severely punished simply for her presence in the crowd since bleeding, by Mosaic laws, meant the affected person should remain removed or isolated from the community for the time they were affected. Instead, this woman put her life on the table to touch Jesus. Though trembling, she declared what He had done for her. She took hold of her faith, she trusted Jesus, and she was healed.
Daughter, son – take heart, and take hold of your faith. The Father sees you, and He will heal you.