25 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.” Mark 5:25-34
In the gospel we read about a woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years and yet no matter how many doctors she went to she got worse and became poorer.
Her life would have been a lonely life. According to the Tawrat (the law of Moses) this flow of blood made her perpetually unclean and therefore she was not to be touched or touch others, lest they too be made unclean (see Leviticus 15:19-31). She had probably all but given up hope, being resigned to live as an unclean woman, with an incurable flow of blood. Could she ever be made clean?
Somehow she had heard about Jesus Christ. And she had heard enough to be filled with hope once more so that she sought to touch him. She had heard about the great things he had done and thought that if she could just touch him she would be healed. This unclean woman started making her way through the crowd (a dangerous task since those around her would have been very angry if she made them unclean). After finally making her way through the crowd she touched Jesus’ cloak and immediately she was healed.
Jesus knew that power had gone out from him and he asked, “Who touched my garments?” The woman must have been terrified. Would this great man be angry that an unclean woman had touched him? She “came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth” (v. 33).
The woman believed that Jesus Christ could heal, but she didn’t believe that he would accept her. Therefore, she just wanted to touch his cloak and then get away before she was rejected. After all, Jesus was a respected teacher and by touching him she would make him ritually unclean. So even in the midst of her great faith, she was full of fear.
But rather than making our Lord Jesus unclean by touching him, she was made clean by him. Not only was she made clean, but she also received mercy. Jesus the Messiah called her, “Daughter.” She was not merely an unclean woman to him. She was a woman made in the image of God, a woman loved by God.
Jesus didn’t want the woman to leave thinking that the touch was the real reason she was made well. Certainly it was important and she wouldn’t have been healed if she hadn’t touched him. But at the bottom of her healing was her faith. It was her faith that made her well, the kind of faith that acts and reaches out and lays hold of Christ.
Jesus then told the woman to go in peace. Here Jesus was pronouncing a benediction, so to speak, on her. He was saying that her faith has made her well in more ways than just stopping the flow of blood. Her soul has been made well and therefore she can go in peace with God. Through faith in Jesus she had been healed of her disease and she had received the thing which she was feared she would never get—acceptance with God.