THE CASE OF THE RUINED WOMAN
The person in charge of the Jewish meeting place was also there. His name was Jairus, and when he saw Jesus, he went over to him. He knelt at Jesus’ feet and started begging him for help. He said, “My daughter is about to die! Please come and touch her, so she will get well and live.” Jesus went with Jairus. Many people followed along and kept crowding around. In the crowd was a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. She had gone to many doctors, and they had not done anything except cause her a lot of pain. She had paid them all the money she had. But instead of getting better, she only got worse. The woman had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him in the crowd and barely touched his clothes. She had said to herself, “If I can just touch his clothes, I will get well.” As soon as she touched them, her bleeding stopped, and she knew she was well. At that moment Jesus felt power go out from him. He turned to the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” His disciples said to him, “Look at all these people crowding around you! How can you ask who touched you?” But Jesus turned to see who had touched him. The woman knew what had happened to her. She came shaking with fear and knelt in front of Jesus. Then she told him the whole story. Jesus said to the woman, “You are now well because of your faith. May God give you peace! You are healed, and you will no longer be in pain.”
The Bible is filled with impossible, hopeless cases. Situations and circumstances appear in the Word of God, and so very many of them appear impossible. There seems to be no solution. Storms, needs, deaths, sicknesses, and many other situations, that to the human mind are impossible, yet they are handled with ease by the power of a sovereign God.
This section of Mark’s Gospel is filled with several of those impossible situations. There is a storm, then a man filled with demons, and then a dead little girl. Jesus steps into every single one of these unimaginable situations and proves that He is more than capable of handling whatever happens.
One truth that demonstrates itself over and over in the pages of the Bible is the truth that God is more than adequate for every situation. There are no impossible situations with Him. There are no hopeless predicaments with the Lord! Your situation is not hopeless! Your storm is not hopeless! Your sin is not hopeless! Your sickness is not hopeless! Your lost loved ones are not hopeless! Nothing is hopeless with the Lord!
Our text describes yet another hopeless situation. Jesus is on His way to heal the daughter of a man by the name of Jairus. On the way there, He is surrounded by a great crowd of people. They throng Him and jostle against Him from every side. In the crowd that day there was a poor, weak, timid, dying woman who reached out and touched Jesus Christ. When she touched the Lord, her life was instantly, completely, and permanently transformed.
I wish we had time to examine every hopeless situation in the word of God today. That task would take a while to accomplish. Today, we will consider the hopeless situation mentioned in these verses. The facts of this story can help us when we face the hopeless situations in our own lives.
I. v. 24-26 HER SUFFERING
A. v. 25 Her Affliction – We are told that she suffered from “an issue of blood”. This literally means that she was haemorrhaging, or bleeding, from some place in her body. The word “issue” means “a flowing of blood”. It may mean that she suffered from a menstrual flow that never ceased. Whatever caused this internal haemorrhage, she was an extremely sick woman. The verb tense indicates that it was a continual flow of blood.
B. v. 26 Her Anguish – A constant flow of blood would have caused her unbelievable suffering. Let us take a moment to examine some of the areas in which she suffered.
1. Her Physical Anguish – From the constant blood loss, this poor woman would have been weak and anaemic. She would have been pale. She would have had no energy at all. The least of efforts would have worn her out. The word “plague” is the same word that is translated “whip” elsewhere. Her disease was like a scourge, constantly beating her down, day by day!
2. Her Medical Anguish – We are also told that she had tried all the remedies of all the physicians of her day. We are told that she “suffered” under their care
An example of their “medical” techniques can be found in the Talmud. There are eleven remedies prescribed in the Talmud. Some are potions, most are simply superstitious nonsense.
Here is a brief example of some of the remedies prescribed for this affliction. “Take of gum Alexandria, of alum, and of crocus hortensis, the weight of a zuzee each; let them be bruised together and given in wine to the woman that hath an issue of blood.”
But if this fail, “Take of Persian onions nine logs, boil them in wine, and give it to her to drink: and say, Arise from thy flux.”
But should this fail, “Set her in a place where two ways meet and let her hold a cup of wine in her hand; and let somebody come behind and affright her, and say, Arise from thy flux.”
But should this do no good, “Take a handful of cumin and a handful of crocuses, and a handful of fenugreeks; let these be boiled, and given her to drink, and say, Arise from thy flux.
But should this also fail, “Dig seven trenches, and burn in them some cuttings of vines not yet circumcised (vines not four years old); and let her take in her hand a cup of wine and let her be led from this trench and set down over that, and let her be removed from that, and set down over another: and in each removal say unto her, Arise from thy flux.”
One remedy even called for the woman to carry an ear of corn taken from the dung of a white donkey. It is hard for us to imagine the kinds of indignities and embarrassments the doctors put her through.
3. Her Social Anguish – She was almost certainly not married, because through simple physical contact, she would have defiled her husband. If she had ever been married, her husband would have been probably divorced her. She could not work around others because of the danger of defilement. This reduced her to a life of begging scraps of food from a distance. Her condition left her on the fringes of society. In the eyes of those around her, she was no better than a leper.
4. Her Emotional Anguish – Since the Bible says that she had been this way for 12 years, and considering the average life span in those days, it is safe to assume that she has probably been this way since just after puberty. She has lived her life moving from one rejection to another. She is lonely, isolated, and desperate!
5. Her Religious Anguish – Under the Law, Lev. 15:19; 25-27, this poor woman was to be considered unclean. Anything or anyone that she touched was also considered unclean. As a result, she could not mingle with other people. Anyone who encountered her would be considered ceremonially defiled. She could not worship in the Women’s Court of the Temple, because she was unclean.
6. Her Financial Anguish – The Bible tells us that she “spent all she had”. The doctors and their useless remedies had not helped her. All they had done was drain her bank account dry. She has been left penniless and destitute, with no husband or children to look after her.
C. v. 26 Her Agony – After years of pain, worthless doctors, useless remedies, and shattered dreams, she has reached the place where she knows she is living under a death sentence. She will not get better. She knows that she will die from this disease. Her life is literally draining out of her body little by little, day by day, Lev. 19:11.
I wonder how many people can identify with this poor woman. Maybe you do not have the same kind of illness, but like her, you are filled with suffering and sorrow. This nameless, suffering woman pictures two types of people:
- This woman pictures every person who does not know Jesus Christ as Saviour. The lost are defiled by a blood disease. They inherited this disease from Adam, Rom. 5:12. This condition has plagued the lost person since they were born, Rom. 3:10; 23; Gal. 3:22. It is a condition the sinner cannot make better or change on their own.
Many lost people spend their entire lives searching for meaning and help for their condition, but instead of getting better, they only get worse. Their hearts get harder, and they become more deeply rooted in their sins. All the efforts at self-improvement and religion do not improve their condition!
This poor woman was in a sad shape, but she was not nearly as bad off as that person who is not saved. She was merely headed to the grave; they are headed to an eternity in Hell, Psa. 9:17; Rom. 6:2
- She is also a picture of that believer who is labouring under a heavy burden. Many of God’s children are discouraged and defeated today. You have tried everything in your power to get better. You have tried everything you know to fix your situation. You have read all the books, listened to all the preachers, and gotten advice from the best of sources, but you are no better. Your life is as messed up as it ever was. If that describes you, keep on listening, it may just be that the Lord has some help for your heart today
II. v. 27-28 HER SCHEME
Our text tells us about how this woman came to Jesus. This hopeless, broken woman devised a plan to meet the Lord.
A. v. 27 Her Reasons – Somewhere, this poor woman heard about Jesus. Maybe she had heard how He had healed a leper, Mark 1:40-42. Maybe she had heard about that wild man just across the lake that Jesus had delivered from a legion of demons, Mark 5:1-20. Or maybe some other poor soul, who lived on the fringes of society, had been healed by Jesus and came by and told her about Him. Somewhere this woman heard that there was power in His touch.
B. v. 28 Her Resolve – She heard about Jesus, and she knew she had to get to Him. She came to realize that Jesus was her only hope! She believed with all her heart that if she could just get to Him, she would be healed.
She displayed her determination to get to Jesus by approaching Him in that crowd. As she elbowed her way through the people, she was causing ceremonial defilement for everyone she touched.
She was taking a great risk, for if she had been recognized, she would have been subjected to public humiliation and ridicule. A crowd like that might have gotten worked up and beat her or stoned her to death. For her, it was a risk worth taking. She believed Jesus would heal her!
She had to be determined, because by the very nature of her disease, it would have taken all the energy she had to drag herself out of her bed to struggle through that crowd to get to Jesus. She was desperate.
There are like this woman are burdened and defeated, need to touch Him as well. The sooner you come to realize that Jesus is the only person Who can help you, the sooner you can get the help you need! Listen what He says to you: Matt. 11:28; Heb. 4:15-16; 1 Pet. 5:7. Why should you carry that burden one more step? Why should you fight your battle even for one more minute? Why should you live defeated for another day? You do not have to! Get to Jesus, He can and will help you!
III. v. 29-34 HER SALVATION
A. v. 29 It Was Powerful – When she was near enough to Him, she reached out a trembling hand and touched His garment. She probably touched one of the long tassels hanging from the corners of His prayer shawl, Matt. 9:20.
Then, in that very instant, she received what none of the doctors or their costly and painful remedies could give her; she was healed! Instantly, she felt the change in her body. She knew she was a different woman!
B. v. 30-33 It Was Personal – As soon as this woman touches Him, Jesus knows what has happened. Just for the record, He knew about it before it happened! He willed it! He knows that “virtue” has gone out of Him. This is a word that means “power”. We get our modern words “dynamite” and “dynamic” from it. Jesus knows what has happened and He asks the question in verse 30, “Who touched My clothes?”
Of course, there were dozens of people touching Him and bumping into Him that day, a fact pointed out by the disciples, v. 31, but her touch was different; it was a touch accompanied by faith. Many touched Him, but only one touched Him with the fingers of faith!
Jesus could have let her walk away with physical healing, but He called her out because He wanted to give her more than physical healing. He wanted to move her beyond her superstitious faith. He wanted to save her soul.
When Jesus spoke to this woman, you will notice that she fell before Him in fear. This was the very reason she came silently from behind Him to touch Him. This was why she did not come to Him openly. She was afraid she would be rejected! She probably expected Jesus to lash out at her for touching Him. She thought He would treat her like everyone else would have treated her. Just by touching Him, she would have defiled Him until sundown.
She need not have feared that! Jesus was not interested in humiliating her. He was not interested in driving her away from His presence. He was not interested in preaching her a sermon on uncleanness from the Law. He was interested in helping her with her problem! He was interested in saving her soul.
Jesus got the response from her He had wanted and anticipated. She bowed at His feet and confessed everything to Him. This was a public, outward acknowledgment of what had happened in her heart. She was different and she was not ashamed to tell others about it! Jesus wanted to move her past a small, superstitious faith to a greater, soul-converting faith.
Jesus was on His way to heal the young daughter of a man named Jairus, v. 22-24. This little girl is at the point of death! As Jesus makes His way to this man’s house, He is surrounded by the surging crowd. Yet, despite the seriousness of His mission, Jesus takes the time to stop for this woman!
At this moment, the crowd might as well not even be there. The business of the universe was put on hold as Jesus turned His full attention on this poor, needy woman. To Him, the woman and her need were more important than anything else. She was the sole focus and centre of His world and attention! This woman, cast out, uncared for, and unwanted, had caught the eye of God because she exercised simple, childlike faith.
Isn’t that a blessing? I believe that God Who controls the path of every atom in every molecule in this universe, has time for you when you call on Him in faith.
Never fear that He does not care about you. Never fear that He will not receive you. Do you realize that this woman could have never touched Him had He not become flesh?
Jesus became a man, in the first place, so He could die on the cross, Phil. 2:5-8. But He also became a man so that He could be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, Heb. 4:15-16. He also became flesh so that we could touch Him! No man could touch deity.
Jesus became a man so that He could identify with us and us with Him. He became a man so that we could touch Him! If you ever come to the place where you can summon the faith the get to Him and touch Him, you will get the help you need too!
C. v. 34 It Was Profound – His words confirmed what she already knew had happened! Notice that He calls her “daughter”. This is the only time Jesus ever calls a female by this name. The word signifies the fact that they are in a different relationship now. It is a word of tenderness; a word of peace; a word of acceptance
She got more than physical healing that day. All her adult life, she has been an outcast, a nobody, dwelling in isolation and loneliness, living in the shadows of society, but now, she hears that she has been taken in by God! Her faith brought her into a soul saving relationship with Jesus Christ. One minute she was an outcast, the next she was in the family of God!
The word “whole” is the same word translated “saved” throughout the New Testament. It means “to be rescued from all harm and danger. To be kept safe and sound”. She got a whole lot more than she bargained for that day.
All those who come to Jesus get far more than they ever bargained for. Many come to Him because they are afraid of Hell. When we come to Him, our faith is so small. We do not understand the deep things of the Word of God. We do not understand the complexities and nuances of theology. But, when our little faith reaches out to Him, He responds by giving us everything Heaven has. Then, we begin the exciting journey of finding out about our riches in Jesus. We soon discover that we got far more than just a fire insurance policy.
- We are children of God, 1 John 3:1-2.
- We have a home in Heaven, John 14:1-3.
- We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus, Rom. 8:17.
- We have a new life, 2 Cor. 5:17.
- We are free from the power of sin to control and dominate them, Rom. 6:14.
- We are no longer God’s enemies, Rom. 8:7.
- We have been reconciled to Him, Eph. 2:12-19.
- We have been fully and forever forgiven, Col. 2:13-14.
D. v. 34 It Was Permanent – He tells her to “go in peace”. His words let her know that she has done the right thing in coming to Him and touching Him. Any other man in that crowd would have been offended and angered had this diseased woman intentionally touched him, but not Jesus!
He was not afraid of ceremonial defilement; it could not touch Him! He was far to holy to become defiled by the mere touch of a sinner. What He knew was that a woman in trouble had exercised a grain of faith, and He only cared for her healing!
She was well and she knew it, but these final words of Jesus, “your faith hath made you whole”, drive home the fact that she was finally and fully free from her plague. She was healed and life would never be the same again! Her battle with this dread disease was forever finished! She had received a brand-new life from the hand of the Master.
Conclusion: This woman experienced healing, not because she touched His garment, but because she exercised faith in Jesus and His power. When her faith touched His power, His power changed her life.
You know, in that crowd that day, there were dozens of people with physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. But only one lady got any help. Dozens touched Jesus, but only one was transformed.
Why? Only one person looked at Jesus through the eyes of faith. Only one person believed Jesus could help her. Only one person whatever she had to do to touch Him. Only that one person was made whole!
Do not be one of those people who simply brush up against Jesus and leave unchanged. If you need help, come to Him. He has the power to change your situation. If you need help, get to Him, and touch Him by faith.