Mark 5:21-34 And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.
22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,
23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: [I pray thee,] come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.
24 And [Jesus] went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.
25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in [her] body that she was healed of that plague.
30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.
33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
This is an interesting story, and one that begs a lot of questions. I will not presume to be able to answer them all definitively. I will not even try to mention all of the ones that I see. I have found that maintaining focus is more important than attempting a wide scope. In other words, quality is more valuable than quantity (in tribute to the Rebelution forums). I will thus deliberate on one aspect of this story: the woman’s faith.
The woman had a problem, and it was a serious one. She was condemned to uncleanness and shunned by all but her closest family. And even these, after twelve long years of sorrow and inconvenience, must have tired of her illness. She was desperate, and felt that nothing was as valuable as her liberty. Nothing in her life was as precious to her as the freedom from her bondage that she sought so frantically. She sacrificed everything she had to every hope that came to her, but nothing availed to cleanse her.
All that happened was the coming of more and more misery, brought on by her sacrifices. All her efforts, which cost her dearly, brought her more into bondage. She was heartbroken.
Then a new teacher came who taught the pure words of Hope. The Hope that spoke beyond the grave, to those bound in cords of misery and sin. He spoke liberty, not liberty to wander without a shepherd, but liberty to enjoy sweet fellowship with a kind Master and Father. And He brought the liberty of which He spoke, liberty from the bondage of sin, and from the power of earth’s curse brought on by sin. He declared Himself the Son of God, unbound, and He lived to unbind others. He spoke words of life into her despairing soul, but she was afraid.
Why was she afraid? I do not know. But it was not doubt, fear of another failure, that shook her and made her touch the hem of His garment. Her faith brought her through the crowd to His feet, it was not doubt that made her hide. I believe it was humility. See the words of the Beatitudes:
Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
She went through these first few baby steps of repentance, and they are detailed in this story. And her baby steps of faith led her to the feet of her Savior. She touched the hem of His garment, not because she trusted it for her savior, not because it contained any virtue of its own, not because it was His, but because it was all she saw herself as worthy to touch. She was meek, humble, broken under her situation, which she was helpless in, and desperate to find freedom from.
It was Christ that saved her, through her faith in Him. Without her faith, she would not have been healed. Without her faith, she could not have found hope. Without her faith, he would not have smiled, and called her Daughter.
What is your bondage? What is the sin that drags you down? Do you have the faith that brings pleasure to God? Are you willing to humble yourself? Are you willing to give all for liberty? Do you hunger for its sweetness enough? Are you willing to take the steps of faith, and fall down, helpless, before your Savior?
With joy and peace in Christ,