February 15

Bible Reading: Mark 5

Mark 5:25-29, “And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment.  For she said, ‘If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.’  And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.”

I love some of the names of the churches I have visited in Uganda.  Names that speak to a Biblical truth, like “People of the Way Church,” “Victory Church,” and “Jesus Loves You Church.”  One of my favorites is “What Doctors Cannot Do Jesus Can Church.”  It’s kind of a long name, but it’s clever, and speaks to the truth of the passage before us.

The account of the healing of the woman with a hemorrhage is sandwiched between the report of Jairus’s daughter’s illness and Jesus’ raising of her to life.  The woman suffered with some sort of 12 year-long chronic bleeding problem.  We are not given the exact cause or nature of the bleeding, but one would suppose that it was both physically debilitating and emotionally embarrassing.  Beyond that, according to OT Law, it also caused her to be considered “unclean” (Leviticus 12:3-8; 15:19-27).  She would not have been allowed to go to the synagogue or temple.  Anyone she touched would have been deemed unclean.  She had been an outcast for 12 years.  One can hardly imagine how desperate she must have been for help.

Apparently, she tried everything she could.  She “had suffered much under many physicians” (Mark 5:26).  Given the state of medical expertise in those days it is likely that the many physicians did more harm than good.  She “had spent all that she had and was no better but rather grew worse” (Mark 5:26).  In her desperation to be healed, she had pursued every possibility and exhausted all her resources. 

But “she heard the reports about Jesus” (Mark 5:27).  She had no doubt heard of how others had been healed.  A flicker of hope gave rise to a plan born out of her desperation.  She thought, “If I touch even her garments, I will be made well” (Mark 5:28).  Her plan was not without obstacles.  She was not accustomed to touching or being touched, she would encounter both in making her way through the crowd.  She was unclean, others would be rendered unclean in the process.  More than that, what would Jesus say were He to know that an unclean woman touched His garments?  So, the goal was to do so unnoticed. 

All went according to plan. She “touched his garment” and “immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease” (Mark 5:27,29).  But Jesus perceived that power had gone out from Him.  He “turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my garments’ (Mark 5:30)?”  The woman heard him.  “Knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth” (Mark 4:33).  She trembled in fear, wondering about his response—would he rebuke her?  Would he undo what had been done?  How precious then must have been His reply, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease” (Mark 5:34).  By faith in Jesus, she was made well.  In so doing she marked out a path for other desperate souls to follow.

Jesus healed many of all kinds of physical afflictions and those healings spoke to the truth of who He is— “He is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31).  He came not just to heal broken bodies, but to give life to dead souls (John 3:16, 10:10).  He is the only one who is able to do that. 

I was walking down a road near to “What Doctors Cannot Do Jesus Can Do Church,” when a strange-looking car approached, driving fast along the narrow dirt road.  Music was blaring from the huge loudspeaker that was mounted on its top.  I turned to my friend Paul and asked him what the car was doing.  He told me it was a man driving from house to house to sell a medical tonic that they touted as being able to impart health and healing.  And as Paul was speaking, the car stopped at a house and a transaction was made.  Snake oil salesmen still exist.  But for unclean, desperate sinners looking for sin-healing, there is only One place to go.  Jesus heals from “all our soul’s diseases” with power and compassion.  He can do what doctors cannot, He can cause lost sinners to be born again to a living hope (1 Peter 1:3)!

Too often we pray as a matter of last resort, but Jesus cares and is best able to deal with our troubles, whatever they might be.  Take them instead to Him.  He can do what no one else can.

There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus–
No, not one! no, not one!
None else could heal all our soul’s diseases–
No, not one! no, not one!

Jesus knows all about our struggles,
He will guide till the day is done;
There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus–
No, not one! no, not one!

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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