Can you picture this scene? This poor woman had been suffering greatly for twelve years. It was not only her physical ailment that afflicted her constantly. Culturally, her bleeding made her unclean… all the time. Anyone who touched her would become unclean too (see Lev. 15:19-20). Undoubtedly, even her own family was avoiding physical contact with her because of this. As a result, this hurting soul had lived a dozen years starved of touch!
I think you and I can relate to her, now that we have all been through this global pandemic, right? How we have ached to hug and touch the ones that we love! There really are no words to adequately express this hunger. And we think one year is bad. Can you imagine twelve?
Further exacerbating her misery, she had completely depleted every last financial recourse. She had spent herself into poverty on futile attempts to find a cure. On top of it all, she had endured the emotional pain of the stigma. Can you imagine wearing the invisible label “unclean” every waking moment of every waking day? It truly was in desperation that she pressed through the crowd towards Jesus.
There were many, many people touching Him that day. The multitude pressed in around Him as He walked. However, power only went out from Him to one individual: this broken woman. What was the difference? Why didn’t His power automatically leak out onto everyone else who crowded in?
It was her soul’s expectation that set her apart. Read it again: “For she kept saying to herself, ‘If only I could touch his clothes, I know I will be healed’” (Mark 5:28, TPT). Notice she did not say, “Maybe there’s a fighting chance I will be healed. Maybe, just maybe, God will consider restoring me today.” Nope. It was one hundred percent anticipation. “I know I will be healed.”
Here is a fascinating angle to consider. In many other gospel stories, Jesus’ compassion is the driving force producing the healings. In this one, He does not even know who touched Him. His own will did not come into play in the equation at all. He was almost a passive player in her healing, simply observing that it had happened. “Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my robe?’ …He kept on looking around to see who had done it” (vv. 30, 32).
The Holy Spirit did not even give Him a word of knowledge about the unknown person’s identity. I believe there is a reason for this. God wanted to singularly highlight for us this aspect of the story: the extremely vital role of our expectation. Once Jesus finally learned who had touched Him, there was no more healing needed. Nothing more for Him to do. It was already done. All that remained was to explain to her what had happened:
“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over” (v. 34).
Her faith did it. Her expectation did it. Her anticipation did it.
There is one more beautiful thing to consider about Jesus’ statement to her. The Greek word translated here as “made you well” is sozo. It is one of those ancient words rich in meaning, including the following definitions: “safe and sound,” “healed,” “delivered,” “made whole,” “rescued,” “restored,” and “saved.” Wow! What riches become ours when we actively, intentionally put our faith in Jesus!
Let’s soak in this verse one more time today. “For she kept saying to herself, ‘If only I could touch his clothes, I know I will be healed’” (emphasis mine). Do you see that bit about her self-talk? “She kept saying to herself…” over and over and over. Can you hear her in your imagination? “I know I will be healed. I know I will be healed. I know I will be healed.”
How about you, precious child of God? What are you saying to yourself over and over today? Are you eagerly anticipating that He will bring you into wholeness? Are you expecting Him to heal, deliver, rescue, and restore you? Are you expecting His power to meet your need?
What do you think made this woman so sure that she would be healed?