As he went, the crowds pressed in on him. 43 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians,[l] no one could cure her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. 45 Then Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me.” 47 When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” – Luke 8:42-48
This story came up at my church’s high school small group on Sunday. I usually do not help lead this specific small group, but I had the opportunity to help out the other day. This small group has an awesome goal of reading all of the Bible together. They have made it pretty far already! They read everything on their own throughout the week and then come back and talk about all they read. They are getting to read amazing stories because the Bible is FULL of them… and this one always speaks to me. One of the other leaders said that this story always touches her. She said it is an emotional story. I think this is because it has so much power within it.
This woman most likely did not live a great life. She did not only have hemorrhages, but she also was a woman. Women had very great roles within the Bible, but a sickness such as this one would impact a woman’s life greatly. Many women were arranged to be married at a young age, and they were able to build a life alongside their husband. If I were to guess, that is not how it worked out for this woman. She was probably all alone because of her sickness. She had no money because she spent it all on physicians. And she was considered dirty and impure. Life wasn’t the same for her as it was for others. When she reached out to Jesus, you can just feel the longing she has to be healed. She wanted all of the dirtiness and sicknesses that was within her to leave her body. The cool part about all of this is you can tell she had the faith that Jesus would heal her. She trusted in His power. She had faith that she would be free, as long as she touched Jesus’ cloak.
There was a time in my life that I felt like this woman. I felt dirty with my mistakes and wrongdoings. I was constantly sick with guilt because I knew I wasn’t being the person I wanted to be. My mistakes made me feel as if no one would want to be around me. More importantly, I felt that God would want nothing to do with me. I wasn’t physically sick like this woman, but I was spiritually ill. My heart was heavy with all I had done wrong. And I don’t think I’m the only person who has experienced this. If I were to guess, many, if not all of you, reading this have either been in this place at once in your life or are experiencing this currently. You feel as if you’re too dirty to approach God or to be okay in any of your relationships. We know God is forgiving, but does God have limits?? You might ask yourself if there is really an opportunity for you to be healed and forgiven again.
I’ve talked to many people who feel this pain. And those of you who haven’t, it is likely that you will at some point in your life. I’ve talked a lot in my past couple of blogs about new chapters, new opportunities, and new seasons. While these new things can be great, sometimes they do not go as we would’ve planned. Sometimes we get caught up in the wrong crowd. We may fall into an addiction. We may get into a toxic relationship and stay in it, rather than get out. We may make little, tiny mistakes that add up and leave us feeling untouchable. While many exciting things are to come in a new chapter, there are also many hardships that could come with it. We don’t know.
I don’t say all of this to discourage and scare you, but rather, I say this all to prepare you and give encouraging words. The woman touches Jesus. She’s dirty, but she has faith that He can truly heal her. And Jesus feels her touch, through all of the crowd pressing up against him. WOAH! Those are some good words. Think about it. People are reaching out to Jesus every day. There are millions of us on this earth reaching out to Him, and Jesus feels YOUR touch. He wants His power to take over your mistakes and all of those things that make you feel dirty. People here in this world may shut you out, but God never will. God knows you. Jesus knew that woman. Jesus knew that she had been sick, and He loved her so much that He cured her of her illness. Because that’s what Jesus does. Jesus forgives us. Jesus heals us. And Jesus loves us unconditionally. Some of you may not be able to even fathom this idea of unconditional love because you’ve grown up in a situation where you’ve never felt loved. But our God doesn’t stop loving us when we do things that seem unforgivable, or when we are in the greatest places in our life. There is not a moment God forgets about you and doesn’t want to show you mercy and grace.
This story is not the only one that shows Jesus’ healing power. Jesus’ entire life is a display of His healing power. Jesus died for our sins. Our wrongdoings. Our mistakes. The goal of Jesus’ life was to provide a gateway for us to receive the gift of eternal life. Jesus knew He had to be the bridge from life here on earth to heaven, because our sin would have us fall into death. Jesus’ whole purpose was to save you and forgive you, so now it’s our turn to have faith in Him.
It’s time for you to reach out, no matter where you are. Jesus wants you to reach out and touch his cloak because He knows He can end the suffering. He just wants you to have the faith to believe He can. The woman did, and that is why this is such a moving story. It’s not only a display of Jesus’ power, but it is also a display of a woman of great faith. She trusted that Jesus could heal her. We need to take her story as an example and start living it out in our own lives.
It does not matter who you are or what you have done. It matters what Jesus has done and who Jesus is. Through Jesus, you are forgiven and free.
“Not because of who I am
But because of what You’ve done.
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who You are.
I am a flower quickly fading,
Here today and gone tomorrow.
A wave tossed in the ocean.
A vapor in the wind.
Still You hear me when I’m calling.
Lord, You catch me when I’m falling.
And You’ve told me who I am.
I am Yours, I am Yours.”
Who Am I – Casting Crowns