A Devotional from Central Presbyterian Church.Find another day here.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
As Jairus hurriedly led Jesus through the jostling crowd toward his dying daughter, an unnamed woman discreetly approached. She had spent the last 12 years, and the entirety of her life’s savings, suffering from uncontrollable bleeding that continued to grow worse each day with no end in sight. At the end of both her funds and any hope of healing, she heard about the teacher from Nazareth. Reportedly many had received healing at His touch, and there were even rumors that He was the one who had abruptly stopped the storm out at sea just a few nights before. With that type of power surely her “issue” would be so insignificant that she needn’t even bother for a moment of His time. If she could just get close enough to touch His coat, she believed, that would be enough.
Without a word to anyone, she maneuvered alone through the tightly-packed moving crowd until she reached out and caught hold of the edge of His garment with her hand. Immediately she felt His healing power course through her body and knew at once that she was finally healed. Before she even had a chance to understand what had happened, the hurried horde screeched to a stop and Jesus began asking His disciples who touched His garments. The out-of-breath disciples, just trying to keep up with Jesus’ frenetic pace through the streets of Capernaum, looked around incredulously. “You see the throng, who touched you? This must be a joke.” Jairus, growing more desperate by the moment in his race against time to get Jesus back to his ailing child, was exacerbated by the unexpected delay.
But Jesus, ignoring their agitated responses and urgent pleas to proceed, began to look through the crowd until His knowing gaze finally fell upon the dear woman who, like Jairus just moments before, was now on her face before Jesus. With no longer any reason to hide, through jubilant and muddy tears, she told Him everything, concluding with the joyful declaration that, for the first time since before the pre-teen ailing daughter of the synagogue ruler was even born, her bleeding had ceased and her body was finally whole again.
In the midst of the chaos and commotion of the moment, surrounded by an anxious father, irritable disciples, and uncontrollable crowd, Jesus stops everything to give the woman His undivided attention. Rather than rebuking her for her cowardice or somehow taking back the healing power that she had unceremoniously seized from Him, Jesus compassionately answered, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.
Of course, the power of Jesus did not emanate from the fabric of His clothing or its proximity to His body. In fact Jesus said that it was her faith, not His coat, that made her well. Many others in the crowd were incidentally bumping and jostling Jesus, but only she received healing because, before He ever stopped the crowd, He knew her. He saw her as she approached, He empathized with her pain, and He could recite her story before she ever opened her mouth. It was Jesus, the object of her faith, not the object that she touched, which wrought the miracle she received. Commentator R. Kent Hughes writes, “Her faith was uninformed, presumptuous, and superstitious, but it was real, and Christ honored her imperfect faith.”
Like the woman who apprehended Him, Jesus invites each one of us to do the same. We don’t have to have all the answers or a fully developed systematic theology in order to know and come to Jesus. We don’t have to wait until we clean ourselves up or get our act together because faith always starts with humble desperation. We must recognize, like the suffering woman, that even our greatest moral efforts, most well-intentioned friends and family, and the entire treasury of our material resources, can never bring to us what only Jesus has already secured for us.
Jesus knows our needs before we even ask, He knows our stories before we begin to speak, and He is never too busy or important to give us anything less than His complete consideration. Before we were even born, Jesus loved us enough to offer everything to us by taking up His cross and becoming everything for us. May He grant us the faith to believe in the sufficiency of His power today, that we might be fully restored to life in Him.
Prayer for Today:
Lord Jesus, You know us better than we know ourselves. You know the worries on our hearts, the anxieties of our minds, the sins of our hands, and the wounds of our souls. As often as we may try, we cannot hide from You. We pray that today You would increase our faith and meet us in our place of deepest need. We are far from perfect and our faith is often shallow. Strengthen us today that we may confidently approach You to receive Your tender care. We ask in Your healing name, Amen.